Medical Writing You Don't Want to Miss

I wanted to marry a doctor or a lawyer. Not because of the slab of bacon he’d bring home (though that would’ve been nice), but because I am so fascinated by medicine and law that I imagined never getting bored at the dinner table.

Well, I ended up with a fellow journalist. The paycheck may not be as big, but thankfully, the conversation is stimulating. Still, it doesn’t scratch my medical itch. So until my brother graduates from med school in four years, I have to go online for tales of fascinating patients, gross-out diagnoses, medical controversies, and incredible stories of survival.

Here are a few of my current favorites.

Rural Doctoring
Theresa Chan, a self-proclaimed “city girl,” moved to a rural town in Northern California to practice medicine on a small scale, and she writes about it with insight and grace. I’m hooked on her suspenseful birth stories, in which she openly admits what a delicate proposition it is to bring life into this world, and reveals how she improvises in the face of dangerous complications.

These folksy, homemade podcasts by pediatrician Dr. Mike and his wife manage to feel like old-time radio shows with up-to-date health information. Sometimes he takes a little while to get to the point, but he always takes a commonsense approach to the latest news that makes it easy to understand. As a parent, I appreciate his straightforward advice.

I will admit, in hindsight, that it was a bad idea to watch a C-section online before giving birth—it made me petrified of the possibility that I would have one (there’s so much blood!). Still, I can’t stop myself from watching these fascinating live surgeries that make you feel like you are in a med-school amphitheater.

Falling Down Is Also a Gift
Ever since I read Lorrie Moore’s short story ”People Like That Are the Only People Here,” in which she writes (based on her real-life experience) about what it’s like to be in a hospital with a very sick kid, I have been drawn to the amazing stories of courage and strength that can come out of such a life-changing challenge. There are a number of them on the Web, and Moreena’s story of her young daughter’s three liver transplants is one of the most moving in its simplicity, honesty, and sense of hope.

Grand Rounds
One of the best guides to the universe of medical writing on the Web. Started by Blogborygmi, perhaps the most well-known medical blogger, this roundup of the Web’s “best medical writing” is hosted at a different site each week. Here’s the schedule to submit and to read.

This is only a small sampling of the great medical writing out there, and I’d like to post periodically about what I’m reading online. Send me your favorites, so I can include them next time.

(PHOTO: 123RF)

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