"A Doctor's Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine" (Encore Presentation)

Nov 14, 2017

(Note: This interview originally aired in May of this year.) On this edition of our show, we speak with Dr. Rachel Pearson about her new book, "No Apparent Distress: A Doctor's Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine." As was noted of this reflective and well-written book by Kirkus Reviews: "[In this book] a sensitive doctor describes her beginnings navigating the unpredictable, woolly world of modern American health care. Pearson’s inspired collective of illuminating clinical episodes immediately sparks to life with anecdotes from her early work in a female-owned and -operated abortion clinic in her 20s. Her experience there as a young, bilingual patient advocate counseling Spanish-speaking women greatly broadened her perspective on women's issues, 'the suffering that women go through,' and it solidified her decision to pursue a career in medicine. Because many of the artfully and creatively compressed stories she shares are so personal and admittedly 'hard to tell,' the book takes on an intimate tone, even while the details veer toward the gruesome or the emotionally raw. Intensive medical school classes on Galveston Island led to hospital and family medicine rotations, and all of the experiences exposed the author to the trauma and heartbreak of pain, cancer, and disease and the frustrations of age and death -- but also the sincere appreciation from those she was fortunate enough to assist in creating wellness. Pearson's history as a poet and a fiction writer aids with the flow and the tone of her memoir. Eloquently and briskly written, the narrative is moving and will be inspirational and particularly enlightening for pre-med students eager to discover and explore the real insider details found both in and out of school. The author offers a helpful, pragmatic perspective on how the American health care system operates, how and who it helps, and what it has become hobbled by.... On the whole, Pearson’s well-balanced book provides a smooth combination of personal history and patient care cases. Educative and thoughtful."