cover image Routine Miracles: Restoring Faith and Hope in Medicine

Routine Miracles: Restoring Faith and Hope in Medicine

Conrad Fischer. Kaplan, $24.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-1-6071-4119-8

Fischer injects both passion and verve to this account of medical breakthroughs. “I am a physician writing a book on hope,” says Fischer, who works at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center's Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn. He's also urging doctors to better communicate the impressive list of routine miracles the profession regularly performs: minimally invasive spinal surgery on pain-wracked patients that gets them on their feet immediately afterward; tiny catheters that reverse a stroke; drugs that lower the mortality rate of congestive heart failure; laser procedures that cure deafness; advances in pain management and targeted cancer therapies, to name just a few. Fischer also shows how a doctor's empathy—even when it has to be learned—is the real glue between physician and patient. “Most patients I approached about this project readily agreed to be interviewed, and many seemed hungry to be heard, to have the ear of a doctor who at least was deeply interested in the emotional aspect of their illness,” he notes. That's a miracle that should always be routine.(Sept.)