After studying the great books at St. John’s College I dreamed of writing the next great American novel, so I enrolled in a graduate writing program. My fiction-writing teacher told me to write about what I knew but since I didn’t seem know much of anything then, medical school seemed like the easier option.
In medical school and residency I learned that getting to the heart of the patient’s story was good medical practice. From my public health training I discovered our hospital-focused sickness care system wasn’t doing nearly as good a job as most people think in promoting healing. Then I went to work as a physician, healthcare researcher, and teacher of doctors-in-training at the University of Tennessee. I published research in many peer-reviewed medical journals, but, after 15 years of practice, realized a hundred journal articles a year wouldn’t change the minds and hearts of American people in the way that was needed to transform our broken healthcare system into one that actually promotes health.
Then came 9–11, my birthday. I knew that horrible as the twin towers disaster was, healthcare was worse: a 747 planeload’s worth of people killed by medical mistakes every day and no one doing anything about it. On the contrary, many profited from it. The public was oblivious of the danger. People view hospitals as great temples of hope and healing, when in fact they are the most dangerous places of all. I knew then that I needed to tell the story.
I started writing The End of Healing as a work of narrative non-fiction. When my spouse, who is also my editor, told me I was writing fiction—and suggested I’d better stop because it would take me forever—my first reaction was denial. I assured her that I was, in fact, writing creative non-fiction. As usual, she was right. A full year later, in 2004, I admitted I was writing fiction—and it filled me with terror. I couldn’t write fiction. That had already been determined. But The End of Healing was a compulsion for me and I wrote nearly every day from 2004 until its publication. I wrote and wrote and edited and edited and learned the art of story telling over a decade because I had to. The story had to be told. And it is a story you need to know.
Title: The End of Healing
Author: Dr. Jim Bailey
Publisher: The Healthy City
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Dr. Don Newman, a resident physician at the renowned University Hospital, awakens in a windowless call room in the middle of the night to the screams of his pager. As he runs to a dark ward to attend to a dying woman strapped to a bed, Don realizes that despite having worked long and hard to become a doctor—and having sworn to do no harm—harm has become his business.
So begins Dr. Newman’s quest to become a healer in a system that puts profits ahead of patients. Abandoning his plans to become a cardiologist, Dr. Newman enrolls in an Ivy League graduate program in health system science, where an unorthodox professor promises to guide him ever deeper into the dark secrets of the healthcare industry. Along with fellow students Frances Hunt, a sharp and alluring nurse practitioner, and Bruce Markum, a cocky, well-connected surgeon, Dr. Newman begins a journey into the medical underworld.
When Dr. Newman unearths evidence of a conspiracy stretching from the halls of Congress to Wall Street and even to his small campus, his harmless course of study becomes deadly serious. Will he be silenced? Or will he find a way to save his patients and others from needless torture? One thing is certain: the path to healing is fraught with danger. Will this path lead Don to a dead end?
About the Author:
Jim Bailey is a fellow in the American College of Physicians and professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where he directs the Center for Health Systems Improvement, cares for the sick, and teaches doctors in training. His research appears in many peer-reviewed medical journals, including AMA, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Bailey has an abiding passion for the classics, medical history, and ethics, and believes that sharing our stories can heal.The End of Healingis his first novel.