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Medical Writings |

The Physician as Storyteller

Abraham Verghese, MD, MFA, DSc (Hon)
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Texas Tech Health Sciences Center; El Paso, TX 79905


Note: This paper was presented in modified form as the Nicholas E. Davies Memorial Lecture at the 2000 American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine Annual Session on 13 April 2000.

Acknowledgments: The author thanks Martha Cornog and Delese Wear for their invaluable advice and assistance in preparing this manuscript.

Excerpt from Chekhov by Henri Troyat (originally published in France under the title Tchekhov, Flammarion, 1984; translation by Michael Henry Heim, 1986) reprinted with permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc.

Requests for Single Reprints: Abraham Verghese, MD, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, 4800 Alberta Avenue, El Paso, TX 79905


Ann Intern Med. 2001;135(11):1012-1017. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-135-11-200112040-00028
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In recent years there has been a steadily growing interest in the narrative aspects of medical practice, as well as in doctors' writings about their work. Underlying this interest is the assumption that careful attention to the language and stories of medicine can enrich the doctor–patient relationship, improve patient care, and enhance doctors' sense of satisfaction with their work. The following article inspired—and now initiates—a series by physician-writers who reflect on the interrelationship between their literary and medical work. We hope that these essays will inspire some of our readers to write as a way of exploring their feelings about medical practice or simply for their own pleasure.

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