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Synopsis

In beautifully crafted vignettes, physician and NPR commentator David Watts explores the world of modern-day medicine and reveals the emotional truths and practical realities at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship. Bedside Manners is an engaging, often surprising investigation into what happens when we sit down and talk openly about vital issues of health and mortality.

Combining the grace and precision of a poet with the down-to-earth, compassionate manner of a doctor who deals with the problems of real people every day, Watts describes situations both odd and touching: the patient who stays awake during an endoscopy to ward off demons; the woman who recites poetry to get through a frightening treatment; the man who arrives at Watts’s office bearing Internet research on syndromes that have little to do with his own condition; and the seventy-four-year-old architect who faces a tough cancer diagnosis with dignity and courage.

Readers will come away from these tales of difficult diagnoses, irreverent colleagues, brave survivors, and examining-room poseurs sharing Watts’s own sense of humbled astonishment. As he tells each story, Watts closes for the reader the protective distance many doctors employ, and touches all of us who have felt vulnerable in the position of patient. Refreshing, wry, and reassuring, Bedside Manners holds important lessons for both healers and those who seek their help.


From the Hardcover edition.

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