by Daniel J. Baxter, 256 pp, $24, ISBN 0-517-70699-7, New York, NY, Harmony Books, 1997.
As I read this memoir of a doctor's work on an AIDS ward in an inner-city Catholic hospital, I was reminded of a recent newspaper article about a 46-year-old physician who had given up his practice to become a Roman Catholic priest. When asked why, he replied that the spiritual needs of his patients required his attention more than their medical problems. Perhaps so. David Loxterkamp, a family physician in rural Maine, writes about a patient who came to his office to tell him, in the midst of a hectic day, about her unhappy childhood at the hand of an unloving mother. "Is there something you want from me, Mirabelle?" the doctor asked. "Why did you tell me this today?"
"Because the priest is out of town and somebody needed to know," she answered.1
As its title suggests, Daniel Baxter's story invites comparison to the spiritual and medical
Porter WG. The Least of These My Brethren: A Doctor's Story of Hope and Miracles on an Inner-City AIDS Ward. JAMA. 1997;278(19):1629-1630. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550190099060