My first collection of short stories will be available for download from Kindle in May, 2018. This book will only be sold on Amazon Kindle in order to keep the price at 99 cents. It includes some stories that were previously published in an academic journal of medical narrative, and the grand prize winner of a short story writing contest. One story became the springboard for my novel, Sanguinity Point.
Medicine is a social act. The interaction is colored by the cultural background of the physician and the patient. Both parties have agendas and preconceptions that influence their expectations, their thought, their speech and their actions. Despite these differences, perhaps with a little effort, certainly with the desire for mutual understanding, a harmonious alliance can be achieved. On some occasions, however, there is a gap between expectation and reality which creates conflict and misunderstanding. Many of the stories of this collection take place in this gap.
I first became interested in how culture affects medicine after reading Lynn Payer's book, Medicine and Culture for a medical school ethics course (if you've never read this book, it will definitely change your perspective on how medicine works). The topic fascinated me. So much so that I chose it as the subject for my Grand Rounds presentation as Chief Resident in Pediatrics at Loyola University, Stritch School of Medicine. Later, I spent the bulk of my career in medicine working with individuals from a variety of cultures; from the South Side of Chicago to deep South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley; from the busy emergency room of a children's hospital to a community clinic in Houston caring for international refugees from Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and many African nations. My interactions with patients of differing cultures were always interesting but sometimes perplexing.
The stories are fictitious, but some are based on experiences my colleagues or I have had. In these instances, all names have been changed except one. A few of the stories are shocking and may even draw the ire of some readers. I'm sorry if I ruffle some feathers, but medicine is not pretty.
I'd love to hear your feedback. As always, good reading!