3 out of 4 stars
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Death has always been a topic talked about in hushed tones. Consequently, it is no wonder that many people do not comprehend hospice and thus despise this essential care. At the helm of a successful career, Gregory Phelps quit his job to go back to school when most doctors are considering retirement. His desire to study hospice and palliative medicine was about to be fulfilled.
Education of a Hospice Doctor was authored by Gregory L. Phelps, MD, and published in 2020. It is a moving account of Dr. Phelps’s life before, during, and after the hospice and palliative medicine fellowship. The fellowship was exciting but undoubtedly filled with tough challenges. They were constant temptations to give up. His beliefs and stamina were questioned in the first interview he attended. The determination to go on despite the unsubstantiated accusations and criticism was inspirational. As a result, the author’s passion for hospice and palliative medicine shone brighter.
The inclusion of delightful stories from before and after the fellowship helped me to adequately understand the author’s life and principal motivation to study. He had learned and witnessed firsthand the great ordeal patients endure. Therefore, he was motivated to study to improve communication and be better at comforting them. The author did not just become a passive observer who waited for things to happen by chance. He pursued a new career, and no hurdle could stop him as he was constantly reminded about this inspiration. Eventually, he convincingly demonstrates that learning is a never-ending journey.
Besides the hospice and palliative care education, the book also quests after enlightening the reader. For example, the author employs data from scientific studies to dispel the prevailing myth from television shows that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is always successful. Contrary to popular belief, he concludes that CPR is an exercise in futility for many end-stage patients.
What I liked most about the book was the author’s courage. He made a gigantic leap into an uncertified field that was relatively new and misunderstood. Equally, this boldness led him to move on when giving up would have been the easier way out. His kindness during the fellowship was extraordinary and admirable as well. Further, the book was filled with valuable lessons like appreciation of life and family. The different dialogues between patients and their families on the deathbeds showed life is limited. Every moment with loved ones has to be enjoyed and used to build lifelong memories. Lastly, the author’s emphasis on the importance of hospice and palliative medicine was persuasive.
This remarkable book not only redefines hospice and palliative care but also demonstrates its importance. The only downside was the grammatical and typographical errors. This is the sole thing I disliked about the book. For this reason, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. Another round of editing will attract a higher rating. I recommend the book to all readers interested in hospice and palliative medicine. It is also suitable for those seeking motivation to move out of their comfort zones and chase after other dreams. They will find a hearty dose of inspiration from the author’s life. Readers should be aware there are a few profane words in the book. They were minor in nature, though.
Education of a Hospice Doctor
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