Young Doctor “Taken Aback” by Deaths Under Nationalized Medicine

(p. 26) Westaby’s book will be a balm to the hearts of curmudgeons everywhere. Sidestepping the contemporary hand-wringing about the lack of empathy in medicine, Westaby, a British surgeon, positions empathy as a threat to the surgical career: “Heart surgery,” he writes, “needs to be an impersonal, technical exercise.”

. . .

The deaths that truly madden him are those that could have been prevented by available technologies not then funded by the British National Health Service (N.H.S.), his employer.

. . .

As a young doctor who imagines nationalized medicine as a way toward comprehensive care for all my patients, I was taken aback.

For the full review, see:

Rachel Pearson. “SHORTLIST; Medical Memoirs.” The New York Times Book Review (Sunday, July 2, 2017): 26.

(Note: the online version of the review has the date June 27, 2017, and has the title “SHORTLIST; Four Timely Memoirs from the Halls of Medicine.”)

The book under review is:

Westaby, Stephen. Open Heart: A Cardiac Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table. New York: Basic Books, 2017.

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