In Awe of Being Human: A Doctor’s Stories from the Edge of Life and Death

In Awe of Being Human: A Doctor’s Stories from the Edge of Life and Death

Treatment with Compassion

In Awe of Being Human by Betsy MacGregor, M.D. is a heart warming and eye opening book of her life as a medical doctor from her beginnings as a student, to intern, and ending with being head of the Pediatrics Department in a busy New York Hospital.   Her belief is that in the medical profession too little is said about the place of compassion in human life.  Diagnosis and treatment of patients often uses technology.   The remarkable fact is that tenderness is a critical factor in treating human illness–especially in the field of pediatrics.

MacGregor discusses the 1970’s when harsh treatment of children horrified her.  Happily, she notes the correction of this mistaken practice.  She describes in beautiful lyrical prose the births and deaths she attended.  By allowing herself to care and to plug into that compassion, she found renewed energy to keep going even though sometimes (as in the case of her own bout with cancer) it was almost unbearable.

She now lives on Whidbey Island and,  together with her husband and friends, has founded a small hospice residence.  Betsy says, “For me it is the perfect way to honor the awesomeness of being human.”    Review by Rosemary Petersen.


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