“This book covers medical advances that would once have been called miracles but have now become routine. The patients’ stories within this book yield hope, optimism, and triumph. This is the best time ever to come out of medical school and training. This fact will inspire and uplift everyone in the medical profession as well as all of us who must, at some point, rely on the art of medicine to see us through.” —Conrad Fischer, MD
What has ruined today’s medical students’ interest in devoting their lives to finding cures for the most rampant diseases riddling our population? How can young doctors not be energized and excited by modern breakthroughs? Why are they not inspired by the ability of current AIDS drugs to increase life expectancy by twenty-five years?
In Routine Miracles, award-winning internist and medical educator Conrad Fischer investigates the disconnect between medical advances and the rise of physician dissatisfaction. Fischer surveyed more than 3,000 physicians and interviewed hundreds of patients to uncover the seeds of doctors’ discontent. Based upon his findings, he offers a deeply personal and compelling call to action for all of us, doctor and patient alike, to celebrate the present and the future of medicine.
Fischer injects both passion and verve to this account of medical breakthroughs. "I am a physician writing a book on hope," says Fischer, who works at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center's Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn. He's also urging doctors to better communicate the impressive list of routine miracles the profession regularly performs: minimally invasive spinal surgery on pain-wracked patients that gets them on their feet immediately afterward; tiny catheters that reverse a stroke; drugs that lower the mortality rate of congestive heart failure; laser procedures that cure deafness; advances in pain management and targeted cancer therapies, to name just a few. Fischer also shows how a doctor's empathy even when it has to be learned is the real glue between physician and patient. "Most patients I approached about this project readily agreed to be interviewed, and many seemed hungry to be heard, to have the ear of a doctor who at least was deeply interested in the emotional aspect of their illness," he notes. That's a miracle that should always be routine.