Book Review by Dr James White
2 MINUTE READ
One of the biggest difficulties of being a doctor is that at the end of the day we are only putting bandaids on people’s problems.
On the rare occasion where we are actively involved in saving someone’s life in the emergency department, we get a real thrill knowing that we were part of something rarer than the general public would perceive. Most of the time we’re dealing with chronic illness and an accumulation of life decisions, people’s genetics and the capacity or incapacity of the health system to help.
What we really want to do is talk to our patients about true hope, about any illness that they’re suffering, and it’s often difficult to talk about true hope beyond the grave. I’ve found this book to be an excellent conversation starter, even just with the title, Hope Beyond Cure.
“What we really want to do is talk to our patients about true hope, about any illness that they’re suffering, and it’s often difficult to talk about true hope beyond the grave.”
This is a great book. I used to carry it around with me whilst doing my internship. A patient with a new diagnosis of lung cancer had many existential questions … I offered her this book only to be turned down … the next day I was wandering around the hospital only to see this same lady walking towards me at high speed … ”If you’ve still got that book I’d like a copy!”
Overall, I have found it a very useful book with the only downside being that it is written predominantly from the perspective of the author (who is a church minister)which inadvertently means a lot of the language assumes people are already Christians or have a well-defined belief.
This makes it somewhat difficult for non-Christians to read.
However I would suggest a revised version for a slightly broader audience as I am sure this would get handed out in hospitals even more regularly.
I have not come across another book like it which is why it is still my ‘go to’ book recommendation when patients are asking existential questions in the context of illness.
Dr James White Dr James is a GP registrar in Glen Innes NSW. He enjoys evangelism and the variety of rural general practice. He and his wife Miriam see ministry and medicine as inseparable. They actively encourage others to take the gospel and their skills to rural and remote Australia.