#TheThanksUGive When medicine and literature entwine

Today I’d like to share with you something a little bit different. Lovely Hazel of Stay Bookish and Mishma of Chasing Faerytales are hosting a special  #TheThanksUGive event in order to spread love and give thanks for everyone and everything that we hold most dear in our bookish community.

In this post I’d like to express my gratitude for healthcare professionals who decide to share their knolwedge and wisdom with us – readers in ways other than just medical textbooks.

Being both a healthcare professional and an avid reader myself I always am on the lookout for books that bring the worlds of medicine and literature together. Written not purely for the matter of being educational but coming from someone with passion, who can see beyond numbers and charts.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon such gems.


The one I chose to talk about is Oliver Sacks’ ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’. Oliver Sacks was a remarkable psychiatrist and neurologist. You may have heard of his other book – The Awakenings, a memoir in which he recountes the events that led up to discovering beneficial effects of L-Dopa on patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic after World War I. This story was made into a wildely successful movie of the same title starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

Originally published in 1985, ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ tells stories of  some patients Oliver Sacks met throught out his career. It includes 24 remarkable essays describing not only the medical (however fascinating) aspect of various neorological illness’ but the person’s struggles as well. And that’s preceisely why I fell in love with this book. As the title itself suggests, those 24 stories are not solely medical cases, devoided of emphaty, bundle of symptomes. Sacks tells them as tales. Each with respect for the suffering individual. He saw them through their sickness, despite the sickness. He proved that humanism and holistic approach is the core of medicine and as such should never be neglected.

 I can only wish for every healthcare professional to be as compassionate and committed as Oliver Sacks was.

Reading lists in med school and in nursing school are solely dedicated to brick-like textbooks packed with informations, symptoms and all sorts of data.

We also rarely have the time to read something different than a textbook to be perfectly honest.

In all that we seem to forget that those who we treat and tend to are human beings, not just lists of symptoms and complaints.

I’d very much like for books like ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ to find their way into the required reading list for anyone who will have contact with those in need. I strongly believe that everyone would benefit from reading them and that they can influence all of us.


If you have any recommendations of books like this one, please let me know! I would appreciate it very much.

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