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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease by T. Jock Murray, OC, MD

The Origins of Totalitarianism: by Hanna Arendt

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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer  by Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

It has been around long enough that its price has gotten comfortably low.

I want Mukherjee to devote his life to writing more books like this so that I can read them.

One reader at Amazon wrote of finding the "book to be endlessly fascinating" and said it felt as though the author had been writting personally to him/her. "I didn't want to put it down."

Another said, "What I loved about this book is the way it heralds all those un-sung scientists who work tirelessly in their windowless basement laboratories searching for the 'missing link' . . ."

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Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease  by T. Jock Murray, OC, MD

Links to Amazon

 

There is much to be learned about the disease in the title, but also much to be learned about what process diseases go through in order to be understood and healed. For instance, Murray says that once a disease is "named, it is experienced differently and the reaction of family, friends, and health professionals is different."

". . . patients suffer not only their symptoms, but the rejection and perhaps derision of the health care system and society if there is no name and thus no diagnosis for their problems."

The name of the problem "can alter public policy, how the health care system responds. . . "

He also says that people define themselves by their disease. Murray holds a mirror up to medicine that can enable medicine and patients to better understand it. This is of particular interest on a site about patient safety at a time when there is no accepted name for the dangers patients face in medicine.

The small details Murray provides give such an eye opening view of the way medicine was and how it came to be what it is. In the 1850s, when great strides were made in the famous Paris school of medicine, the hospital there had 5,000 patients. One physician, with a progressive idea about how things should be run, got permission to unshackle 49 of them.

Someday I hope we will look back on the current milieu in health care, in which there is no objective oversight and patients have not much more ability to determine who and what is safe than those shackled patients in 1850, and feel the same anguish for the patients of this age when viewed from a time when things may be better.

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The Origins of Totalitarianism: by Hanna Arendt, Introduction by Samantha Power   $5 used. Kindle edition available.
Links to Amazon.com

This is one of the most dense books you could read, but amazing.

She writes, "Here night has fallen on the future. When no witnesses are left, there can be no testimony. . . There are hundreds of thousands of us here, all living in absolute solitude. That is why we are subdued no matter what happens."

When you are an injured patient, it feels like she is talking about you even though she is describing the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin.

". . . lawlessness is the essence of tyranny . . . "

Ever try to get the law enforced in medicine? Ever try to get the police even to show up?

When she describes how rulers create a totalitarian state, when you've been victimized in modern medicine, with no records having been created, no witnesses willing to testify, and the medical establishment in lockstep working to squash you (for instance, see blacklisting on this site), her descriptions match your experience.

". . . guiding principles and criteria of action are, according to Montesquieu, honor in a monarchy, virtue in a republic and fear in a tyranny."

Have you ever witnessed the fear in patients who have been victimized in medicine? They are afraid even to complain. It would be complaining to the same institution that tried to victimize them and what would that do but focus more of the destructive potential on them. See Gedz, on this site, in which the husband was afraid to complain lest something more be done to his wife and/or child before getting them out of the hospital. And see Wood and Graham in which two nurses tried to strangle patients who never complained.

Arendt says that totalitarian rule makes a monstrous, and yet unanswerable, claim when it says that it . . . establishes a direct reign of justice unhampered by petty legality.

Isn't what happens when caregivers handle their problems in house?

Difficult reading that can bring clarity.

A longer review can be seen at Amazon.com by clicking the photo of the book above.

 

Index of Patient Safety Books