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Books, Journals, New Media
September 24, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(12):1645. doi:10.1001/jama.290.12.1645-a

At the center of medicine is a covenant of trust that obligates the physician to be competent and to advocate for the health and welfare of the sick and suffering. This covenant, like others, deserves a literary profile to affirm that the integrity of our profession depends on caring and standing up for the patient. The anthology Compassion's Way is such a book.

Ralph Crawshaw, a practicing psychiatrist for 50 years and clinical professor of psychiatry and public health at Oregon Health Sciences University, displays his thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a collection written over 33 years "exploring the human condition," which includes "lectures, journal articles, essays, thought experiences, even reviews of films." The Menninger-trained psychiatrist weaves into his experiences the emotional reactions evoked by relationships with patients, world travel, medical politics, physician suicide, the pain and suffering of a child, a gruesome automobile accident, even the accidental death of his pet dog. The author does not remain aloof but draws the reader into his personal life, going back to childhood. He writes of his father:

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