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May 22, 1987

When a Doctor Hates a Patient, and Other Chapters in a Young Physician's Life

Author Affiliations

Worcester, Mass

Worcester, Mass


by Richard E. Peschel and Enid Rhodes Peschel, 189 pp, $16.95, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;257(20):2831. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390200171038

Enid and Richard Peschel have collaborated to create another fine contribution to the new and growing field of medical humanities. In this interesting volume, Richard Peschel, MD, recounts a number of gripping events recollected from his internship and early medical training. Each tale describes a moment of considerable intensity when doctor meets patient. Following each of these short narratives, Enid Peschel, PhD, describes similar encounters drawn from art, music, and literature.

For example, Richard Peschel tells of a harrowing experience during which he wheeled a patient with an acute myocardial infarction past a stretcher carrying a corpse to the morgue. Enid Peschel counters with such literary parallels as Montaigne's dialogue between death and life, Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych," and W. B. Yeats' poem, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death." Another medical anecdote concerns a hostile, hateful patient; the literary parallels discussed include William Carlos Williams' "The Use of