Saturday, October 17, 2015
Black Man In A White Coat by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
Writing Style: First person, hard, frank engaging storytelling, filled with medical cases based on personal experience.
Premise: A plea from a black physician's perspective to correct what’s not working in the U.S. Healthcare system.
Personal Highlights: Most striking about this memoir was the overall perceived intent. From start to finish the writing is clear, frank, and sincere, whether I agreed with many of the positions presented or not. I commend Dr. Tweedy on what read like an open plea, using his own biases as a framework to encourage other physicians to see, and treat patients with respect, if not for the individual being serviced, then for the profession.
Upending flawed belief structures inherited from nascent medical practices, indeed could very well be the catalyst that uprights an otherwise dysfunctional healthcare system. This book held a lot of promise in that regard, even as I looked for medical (or scientific) insight that explained the metrics (categorically in almost every sense and case cited throughout) declaring blacks statistically being inferior to other human species. Was the data siphoned from partial pictures of American societies, or inherited biases mined from the likes of practices Tweedy kept silent about?
For instance, there was a period when Chicken Pox had broken out in our community. Almost every kid on the block came down with the disease, which the thought for most parents was to let all of us play together, instead of quarantining those who had the disease from those who didn’t. No matter, even though we ate the same foods, lived with parents sharing similar beliefs and incomes, and saw the same one doctor who served our community, not all of us got Chicken Pox. Why?
In other words, while socioeconomics might explain the awfulness of being poor, it doesn’t venture near to uncovering, much less discovering the biological specifies of diseases and illnesses. Enlightenment in this area certainly has the potential to change old beliefs governed by relic practices.
And still, one after the next the cases cited were tremendously engaging. I praised “Dr. Garner.” Her standing in for Leslie was wonderful. Questioned “Lucy’s” exact cause of death, in as much as I questioned the precise cause of “Adrian’s” stroke. Was it medication, singularly cigarettes, or a combination of both or something else? I as well was warmed to tears by “Chester” and his family. Sighed a bravo for “Gary” and shame..shame for the ‘presumptuous’ doctors. I found myself tickled in a couple of spots, (the knee exam and the “Tar Heel” fans), and got my feathers in a ruffle over “Diane,” though glad everything worked out there. On and on this memoir presents much to comment on. I turned every single page, skipping none; the best sign of a book doing its job. I suspect it will likely rank in the top ten books I select for the best read this year; a list I don’t take lightly in creating. Black Man in a White Coat I highly recommend!