The award-winning author of How We Die and The Art of Aging, venerated physician Sherwin B. Nuland has now written his most thoughtful and engaging book. The Uncertain Art is
a superb collection of essays about the vital mix of expertise,
intuition, sound judgment, and pure chance that plays a part in a
doctor’s practice and life.
Drawing from history, the recent
past, and his own life, Nuland weaves a tapestry of compelling stories
in which doctors have had to make decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Topics include the primitive (and sometimes illegal) procedures doctors
once practiced with good intentions, such as grave robbing and
prescribing cocaine as an anesthetic (which resulted in a physician
becoming America’s first cocaine addict); the curious “cures” for
irregularity touted by people from the ancient Egyptians to the cereal
titan John Harvey Kellogg and bodybuilder Charles Atlas; and healers
grappling with today’s complex moral and ethical quandaries, from
cloning to gene therapy to the adoption of Eastern practices like
Nuland also recounts his most dramatic experiences
in a forty-year medical career: the time he was called out of the
audience of a Broadway play to help a man having a heart attack (when no
other doctor there would respond), and how he formed a profound
friendship with an unforgettable—and doomed—heart patient. Behind these
inspiring accounts always lie the mysteries of the human body and human
nature, the manner in which the ill can will themselves back to health
and the odd and essential interactions between a body’s own healing
mechanisms and a doctor’s prescriptions.
Riveting and wise, amusing and heartrending, The Uncertain Art
is Sherwin Nuland’s best work, gems from a man who has spent his
professional life acting in the face of ambiguity and sharing what he
has learned. Download and start listening now!