Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
by Abraham Verghese, 345 pp, $25, ISBN 0-06-017405-6, New York, NY, HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.
The Tennis Partner is a powerful and compelling story. It is especially so for me as I treat addicted physicians and have had a long-standing love affair with the game of tennis, two themes central to Abraham Verghese's memoir. As the title and subtitle indicate, it is a story written by a physician about his tennis partner, their friendship, and loss—four words that go to the heart of what the book and its author are about.
Dr Verghese, author of My Own Country (1994), a memoir about treating AIDS, reveals that he is a consummate practitioner and "provider" who cares. Verghese interweaves the story of his call to medicine—perhaps his first love—with the account of his friendship with David, his tennis partner and a physician-in-training. There is hardly a word about managed care or length-of-stay; instead, the author repeatedly speaks of becoming and being "a caring and careful physician." We feel privileged to bear witness to his astute diagnostic acumen and wellspring of empathy for his patients' suffering. He is attuned to the human body in health and disease and to our human spirit in good and trying times.
Friendship, AddictionThe Tennis Partner: A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss. JAMA. 1998;280(23):2043-2044. doi:10.1001/jama.280.23.2043-JBK1216-2-1