Monday, August 25, 2008

What is Ezekiel Emanuel reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Ezekiel Emanuel, chairman of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health and author of numerous books and articles on the ethics of clinical research, health care reform, international research ethics, end of life care issues, euthanasia, the ethics of managed care, and the physician-patient relationship.

His books include the Exploitation and Developing Countries: The Ethics of Clinical Research (co-edited with Jennifer S. Hawkins).

One paragraph from his Writers Read entry:
I just finished John Banville’s The Sea. It is a short novel about the death of a spouse by cancer and the memories of other losses it revives. Wonderful imagery and wonderful descriptions of adolescent behaviors. Having cared for many dying cancer patients and families as an oncologist, I did not find the portrait of the wife’s demise, the gnawing feeling of the inevitable, as realistic as it might be. The sinking, hollowing out feeling of a terminal diagnosis, the ferocious, almost blinding battle against the “death sentence” did not seem to me present. But Banville is great on the avoidance of talking about cancer. His brief but poignant descriptions reminded me that this might be the way we in the West have adopted the very old idea that verbalizing or explicitly mentioning some horrible thing, such as dying from cancer, actually, causally, makes it occur. We avoid talking about cancer even when everyone knows the same information. It seems that we might believe that if we don’t speak the words, somehow terminal cancer and death can be evaded. [read on]
Learn more about Ezekiel Emanuel's research and publications, and read the introduction to Exploitation and Developing Countries: The Ethics of Clinical Research.

Writers Read: Ezekiel Emanuel.

--Marshal Zeringue