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Proper Doctoring (eBook)
“People come to us for help. They come for health and strength.” With these simple words David Mendel begins Proper Doctoring, a book about what it means (and takes) to be a good doctor, and for that reason very much a book for patients as well as doctors—which is to say a book for everyone. In crisp, clear prose, he introduces readers to the craft of medicine and shows how to practice it. Discussing matters ranging from the most basic—how doctors should dress and how they should speak to patients—to the taking of medical histories, the etiquette of examinations, and the difficulties of diagnosis, Mendel moves on to consider how the doctor can best serve patients who suffer from prolonged illness or face death. Throughout he keeps in sight the fundamental moral fact that the relationship between doctor and patient is a human one before it is a professional one. As he writes with characteristic concision, “The trained and experienced doctor puts himself, or his nearest and dearest, in the patient’s position, and asks himself what he would do if he were advising himself or his family. No other advice is acceptable; no other is justifiable.”
Proper Doctoring is a book that is admirably direct, as well as wise, witty, deeply humane, and, frankly, indispensable.
About the Author
David Mendel (1922–2007) was born in East London. He was a poor student and applied to medical school on a whim after discovering that he wasn't suited for his father's millinery business. He contracted tuberculosis while at his first hospital job and was confined to bed for six months, after which he spent time as a ship's doctor. In 1960 he was hired by St. Thomas's Hospital, London, where he would stay for more than two decades, working as a senior lecturer and a specialist in cardiology. During these years he wrote the well-regarded textbook The Practice of Cardiac Catheterisation and acquired a reputation as a popular and lively teacher. Mendel retired from medicine in 1986, moving to a cottage in Kent with his wife, Margaret, and earning a degree in Italian from the University of Kent. From then until his death he occupied himself playing the flute, building furniture, and publishing essays on Italian subjects, particularly about his friend, the chemist and writer Primo Levi.
Praise for Proper Doctoring…
“A remarkable collection of observations, aphorisms, and grandfatherly advice . . .” —Annals of Internal Medicine