Let Me Heal: The Opportunity to Preserve Excellence in American Medicine

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9780199744541: Let Me Heal: The Opportunity to Preserve Excellence in American Medicine
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In Let Me Heal, prize-winning author Kenneth M. Ludmerer provides the first-ever account of the residency system for training doctors in the United States. He traces its development from its nineteenth-century roots through its present-day struggles to cope with new, bureaucratic work-hour regulations for house officers and, more important, to preserve excellence in medical training amid a highly commercialized health care system.

Let Me Heal provides a highly engaging, richly contextualized account of the residency system in all its dimensions. It also brilliantly analyzes the mutual relationship between residency education and patient care in America. The book shows that the quality of residency training ultimately depends on the quality of patient care that residents observe, but that there is much that residency training can do to produce doctors who practice in a better, more affordable fashion.

Let Me Heal is both a stunning work of scholarship and a highly engaging account of how one becomes a doctor in the United States. It is indispensable reading for those who wish to understand what it means to learn and practice medicine and what is needed to make medical education and patient care in America better. The definitive work on the subject, it is destined to become a classic that will be consulted by readers far into the future.

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About the Author:

Kenneth M. Ludmerer is Professor of Medicine, Professor of History, and the Mabel Dorn Reeder Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.


"This thoughtful scholarly treatise on the residency, the most influential learning period for young physicians, is a major contribution to our understanding of how America produces its physician workforce. It notes the educational, scientific, economic, social, legal, ethical, and political influences which produce tensions and conflicts in the training experience.

Dr. Ludmerer provides a platform for examining these influences and he proposes ways for the learning environment to be more flexible, while maintaining high standards and the professionalism we all want to retain in our nation's physicians.

I heartily recommend this superb book to all who are interested in our nation's healthcare system."

Louis W. Sullivan, MD, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1989-1993

"In engaging and compelling prose, Kenneth Ludmerer vividly chronicles and insightfully analyzes the medical and social history of the residency phase of American medical education. Based on rich observational and documentary data, he brilliantly evaluates the achievements, tensions, and shortcomings of the residency system. Let Me Heal, the entreaty that he chose for the book's title, has contemporary as well as historic significance. It is associated with Ludmerer's stirring analysis of how the present-day struggles with patient care and health care delivery in the United States create challenges for good medical education, and of how the residency system can contribute to making medical care better and more affordable.

This landmark book should be ready by all who are concerned with medical education and patient care in America."

Renee C. Fox
Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences
University of Pennsylvania

"The complete fascinating story of the graduate education of US physicians, its 19th century origins, its 20th century glories, and now its threatened decline in the hands of a commercialized hospital industry and a for-profit health system. A compelling read that all who would understand our health care problems will enjoy, and a masterful study sure to become the definitive reference in its field. Another notable contribution by Ludmerer to the history of medical education and its relation to contemporary society."

Arnold S. Relman, MD, Professor Emeritusof Medicine and of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and former Editor-in-Chief, The New England Journal of Medicine

"Let Me Heal is an eye-opening analysis of residency training and a wonderful exploration of its evolution. This third book in Ludmerer's trilogy on American medicine is a tour de force. I would consider it an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand medical education and for those with a stake in what the future might hold."

Abraham Verghese, MD
Profesor of Medicine, Stanford University
Author of Cutting For Steone

"We ... consider this book an invaluable contribution to the field and encourage everyone involved with residency training to read it." --Editors, Journal of Graduate Medical Education

"This book represents an important contribution to our understanding of the history and current state of American residency education and of ers a strong foundation for future research." -- Science Magazine

"This latest text should be required reading for every individual interested or involved in graduate medical education." -- The American Journal of Medicine

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"Every page offers something worthwhile and memorable. The writing is clear and captivating. Particularly impressive are the quality of the research and the meticulous manner in which Ludmerer presents his results. For these reasons - together with the unquestionable importance of the subject covered - I consider this book to be a prime candidate for the Pulitzer Prize." -- Herbert L. Fred, Texas Heart Institute Journal

"As the subtitle of Ludmerer's elegant volume suggests, 'the opportunity to preserve excellence in medical education.' Nothing less is at stake, and Let Me Heal ... his magisterial history of postgraduate medical education ... should be our sage guide in this worthy pursuit."
--The American Journal of Bioethics

"Let Me Heal thus fills a significant void in our understanding of the history of an integral part of the U.S. health-care system... Ludmerer makes it clear that, in order to understand the history of the past century of U.S. medicine, we need to understand the history of residency programs. This book is a landmark achievement the definitive account of the history of the residency."

"This is an excellent book for all interested in medical education and the history of medicine, regardless of specialty." - Annals of Emergency Medicine

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9780199392162: Let Me Heal: The Opportunity to Preserve Excellence in American Medicine

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ISBN 10:  0199392161 ISBN 13:  9780199392162
Publisher: Not Avail, 2014

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Ludmerer, Kenneth M.
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