Healing the Wounds is the most revealing book ever written by a doctor about his own profession. In it, David Hilfiker breaks the code of silence surrounding the everyday practice of medicine and gives is a dramatically different personal account of how the family doctors gets by in a world of spiraling information and high anxiety. Drawing on his years of rural and urban experience, Dr. Hilfiker lets us all know what it really feels like to be a doctor. What do you do when you make a serious medical mistake? Is it enjoyable to play God? What do you say to a patient who wants reassurance when the essence of diagnosis is uncertainty? What about money? What happens when a patient is taking forever, your waiting room is full, and you want to get home?
Dr. Hilfiker uses incidents from his own practice to examine many of the kinds of behavior for which doctors are criticized—aloofness, authoritarianism, lack of caring, and money. With compassion for doctor and patient alike, he shows how the stresses of medical practice lead to a climate of misunderstanding and hostility in which the goal of healing is the first casualty.
Never before have we heard the voice of the doctor ever American is most likely to meet—the family doctor—telling the often painful truths of medical practice. A book for the medical community and the lay person alike, Healing the Wounds is a powerful exploration of what frustrates doctors (and infuriates patients) and what might be done about it).
David Hilfiker, M.D.
About David Hilfiker, M.D.
Dr. David Hilfiker graduated from Yale College and the University of Minnesota Medical School. He practiced medicine as a Board Certified Family Practitioner from 1975 to 1982, and now works in Washington, D.C., in two small health clinics.
“David Hilfiker’s book is the best exposition of what goes on in the mind of a dedicated doctor that I have ever read. It’s a book that can be read with profit by every doctor, and one that could be responsible for great advances in the doctor-patient relationship.” —William A. Nolen, M.D., author of The Making of a Surgeon “A strikingly honest, courageous, and clear-sighted depiction of problems which have become central in medicine today.” —Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings “Healing the Wounds is a painfully honest, very moving account of the extraordinary pressures which shape the way medicine is practiced, pressures which are never really discussed in medical training. This book has a great deal to teach about why it is so stressful to give medical care—and receive it.” —Perri Klass, author of Recombinations “Dr. Hilfiker’s book catheterizes the heart of American medical practice. His findings are intimate, lucid, and sobering. Nowhere have I read as honest and compassionate an account of what it is like to be a doctor today.” —Fitzhugh Mullan, author of Vital Signs: A Young Doctor’s Struggle with Cancer