Dear Doctor: What Doctors Don’t Ask, What Patients Need to Say
Marilyn McEntyre (Broadleaf Books)
Certainly every doctor should read it as professional training, but so should nurses and physical therapists and others who have authority over the bodies and lives of patients. It is really, really good and very, very important.
So we list it next to other books offering up a faith-based perspective on medical matters and the reform of health care, from Attending Others: A Doctor’s Education in Bodies and Words by Brian Volck to Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing by Judith Shelley and Arlene Miller and Care: How People of Faith Can Respond to Our Broken Health System by the great urban doc from Memphis, Scot Morris.
Marilyn is someone who we read earnestly and recommend regularly; her day job is teaching literature in a med school, helping those preparing to become doctors know well the literature of illness, the memoirs of chronic pain, the poetry of grief. Her (faith inspired) view of the humanities as being helpful to med students is inspiring and good. So she has a lot of first hand experiences with medical professionals.
This, though, is written from the point of view of a patient, and each fairly short chapter reads like a memoir or maybe a devotional. She evokes so much, insists on our agency and integrity, and calls on well-paid doctors to pay attention. So good. So important.
The Gift of Pain
Philip Yancey & Dr. Paul Brand (Zondervan)
The renowned hand surgeon and the popular evangelical journalist reflect together on the role of pain in a fallen world, observing that it maybe a gift from God, alerting us to illness and more. They call it “the gift nobody wants.” Very useful for anyone, but essential for those called to ministry to the ill or hurting.
Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing
Judith Allen Shelly & Arlene B. Miller (InterVarsity Press)
Although this is obviously written for nurses, nearly anyone in any field of health care could benefit from these foundational teachings on the nature of the body, a vision of health, the role of medicine, the meaning of caregiving, the characteristics of healing and the ethics of prayer and spiritual conversations between patients and health care providers. This is a splendid, foundational work for nearly anyone who works in health care, making it a must-read.
Transforming Care: A Christian Vision of Nursing Practice
Mary Molewky, Ruth Groenhout, Kendra G. Hotz (Eerdmans) A profound and mature study for nurses, but, as with the previous listing, this is so, richly conceived and finely written, it will certainly prove useful for nearly anyone serving in any capacity in health care professions. With worldviewish reflection on our understanding of the human person and the meaning of health, the authors then explore the contexts of health care delivery, looking at : acute care settings, mental health facilities, and community care contexts. The authors teach at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI and include a professor of nursing, a theologian and an ethicist. Very impressive.
Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life)
Joel Shuman & Brian Volck, MD (Brazos)
What an extraordinary book, co-written by a practicing pediatrician and a poet, each who have thought deeply about the role of medicine in our culture and the task of health care providers. This perhaps was written for anyone who wants to think about medicine in our time or who wants to work for health care reforms, but it is essential for doctors or others who work in health care.
The Scalpel and the Cross: A Theology of Surgery (Ordinary Theology
Gene L. Green (Zondervan)
Although this is a very small book, it is a powerful and poignant reflection by Christian leader who is both a surgeon and who underwent heart surgery. Here, he offers a practical theology about this important aspect of contemporary life, in a new series called “Ordinary Theology.
Helping and Healing: Religious Commitment in Health Care
Edmund Pelligrino & David Thomasma
(Georgetown University Press)
Two of the leading medical ethicists, devout Roman Catholics, here offers great insight about the proper role of faith and spirituality in contemporary medical practice. By reflecting on how professionals can embody religious commitments, effecting the relationships between patient and practitioner they show how that can help in recovery and healing, this points to a profoundly spiritual philosophy of medicine.
Health-Care Ethics: A Comprehensive Christian Resource
James Thobaben (IVP Academic)
A major contribution to the field, lively and interesting, broad and multi-disciplinary, this work starts with a mature theological anthropology and leads eventually to good reflections on bioethics. Some reviewers have called it “incarnational” and “missional” as well as “masterful and pertinent.”
* These reviews are from a friend of Trinity, Byron Borger. Visit Hearts and Minds Books.