For lovers of books and literature everywhere, it's fairly common to encounter a favorite author who's also a doctor: Arthur Conan Doyle, William Carlos Williams, Walker Percy, Anton Chekov, Robin Cook, Abraham Verghese, Oliver Sacks, Michael Crichton, et al. What's far less common is finding an English professor who decides (north of the age of forty, no less) to become a doctor -- yet such is the case with Terrence Holt, a physician and medical school prof based in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We speak with Dr. Holt about his well-regarded new collection of autobiographical tales, "Internal Medicine: A Doctor's Stories," and about his journey as a writer and doctor more generally.
We also chat with Scott Hensley, who writes and edits stories for Shots, the Health Blog from NPR News. Scott (who's kindly subbing today for Gary Schwitzer) joins us to address recent topics in the realm of medical news, namely Americans' ideas and concerns about Ebola and the "surrogates" used in certain medical studies. And finally, our commentator Alice Dreger ponders why and how doctors will sometimes compose narratives about their patients.