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Let Me Heal

The Opportunity to Preserve Excellence in American Medicine


Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D. (View Bio)
Hardcover: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Let Me Heal

In Let Me Heal, prize-winning author Kenneth M. Ludmerer provides the first-ever account of the residency system for training doctors in the United States. He traces its development from its nineteenth-century roots through its present-day struggles to cope with new, bureaucratic work-hour regulations for house officers and, more important, to preserve excellence in medical training amid a highly commercialized health care system.

Let Me Heal provides a  richly contextualized account of the residency system in all its dimensions. It also analyzes the mutual relationship between residency education and patient care in America. The book shows that the quality of residency training ultimately depends on the quality of patient care that residents observe, but that there is much that residency training can do to produce doctors who practice in a better, more affordable fashion.

Let Me Heal is a highly engaging account of how one becomes a doctor in the United States. It is indispensable reading for those who wish to understand what it means to learn and practice medicine and what is needed to make medical education and patient care in America better. The definitive work on the subject, it is destined to become a classic that will be consulted by readers far into the future.

"This book represents an important contribution to our understanding of the history and current state of American residency education and offers a strong foundation for future research." — Science

"Let Me Heal is an eye-opening analysis of residency training and a wonderful exploration of its evolution. This third book in Ludmerer's trilogy on American medicine is a tour de force. I would consider it an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand medical education and for those with a stake in what the future might hold." — Abraham Verghese, M.D., Profesor of Medicine, Stanford University

"The complete fascinating story of the graduate education of U.S. physicians, its 19th century origins, its 20th century glories, and now its threatened decline in the hands of a commercialized hospital industry and a for-profit health system. A compelling read that all who would understand our health care problems will enjoy, and a masterful study sure to become the definitive reference in its field. Another notable contribution by Ludmerer to the history of medical education and its relation to contemporary society." — Arnold S. Relman, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Medicine and of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and former Editor-in-Chief, The New England Journal of Medicine

"In engaging and compelling prose, Kenneth Ludmerer vividly chronicles and insightfully analyzes the medical and social history of the residency phase of American medical education. Based on rich observational and documentary data, he brilliantly evaluates the achievements, tensions, and shortcomings of the residency system. Let Me Heal, the entreaty that he chose for the book's title, has contemporary as well as historic significance. It is associated with Ludmerer's stirring analysis of how the present-day struggles with patient care and health care delivery in the United States create challenges for good medical education, and of how the residency system can contribute to making medical care better and more affordable. This landmark book should be ready by all who are concerned with medical education and patient care in America." — Renee C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

"An invaluable contribution to the field and encourage everyone involved with residency training to read it." — Editors, Journal of Graduate Medical Education

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