If I Betray These Words: Moral Injury in Medicine and Why It's So Hard for Clinicians to Put Patients First


Product Details

$29.00  $26.97
Steerforth Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 7.8 X 1.6 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Wendy Dean, MD is the President and co-founder of Moral Injury of Healthcare, a nonprofit organization focused on alleviating workforce distress. A seminal article that she co-authored with Simon Talbot, MD for STATNews in July of 2018 began the conversation about moral injury in healthcare. Dr. Dean has practiced as a psychiatrist and an emergency room physician, and is an expert in hand and face transplants, and the ethics of medical innovations.

Simon G. Talbot, MD, co-founder of Moral Injury of Healthcare, is a hand surgeon and microsurgeon who is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Attending Surgeon in the Division of Plastic Surgery and Director of the Upper Extremity Transplant Program at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.


"If I Betray These Words" ably humanizes modern, troubled physicians and rightly recognizes an important cause of their suffering."
--The Wall Street Journal

"A fierce denunciation of American medicine in which physicians are the heroes--mostly... An expert bottoms-up examination of our diseased health care system."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This is an important call to action."

"This book is great for anyone working with patients, from nurses and doctors to health care and hospital administrators. It puts a spotlight on the problem of moral injury and how to rectify it."
--Library Journal

"This is a great story of an adventurous and wide-ranging doctor dedicated to bringing the human into medicine. Having felt the whip of money and 'administrators, ' in both large institutions and small hospitals, she and Simon Talbot moved away from calling doctors' difficulties 'burnout' -- thus blaming doctors -- to 'moral injury' --like soldiers floundering under unjust orders. A brilliant, expansive book."
--Samuel Shem, MD, DPhil, Professor in Medicine at NYU Medical School, author of The House of God and Man's 4th Best Hospital

"A manifesto for our times! Wendy Dean diagnoses the dangerous state of our healthcare system, illustrating the thumbscrews applied to medical professionals by their corporate overlords. By making it impossible to do the right thing for patients, the profit-hungry system casually gouges the moral fiber of healthcare workers, threatening patient safety. Luckily, Dean lays out a path forward. Required reading for all stakeholders in healthcare."
--Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error

"All good physicians embrace their role as 'Chief Story Teller, ' explaining to patients and their families the meaning of symptoms, diagnostic tests and proposed treatments. Wendy Dean weaves together the stories of 13 healthcare clinicians who have grappled with moral injury resulting from the system in which they are forced to work, and also offers solutions. A brilliantly conceived and executed masterpiece."
--Thom Mayer, MD, Medical Director of the NFL Players Association

"I was viscerally moved by this book. Although written by and about the challenges facing physicians in the civilian healthcare system, I shared many similarly exasperating experiences during my military medical career. Wendy Dean opens the door for the layman to see how physically taxing and mentally draining the practice of medicine can be, while allowing physician readers to recognize themselves in the scenarios she depicts. Regardless of where you stand, you need to read this book. Trust me. I'm a doctor."
-- Joseph Caravalho, Jr., MD, Major General, US Army (Retired), and President and CEO of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine

"Wendy Dean offers a stunning portrayal of the corrosive effects of valuing profits over people. Medicine is sick and the situation more dire than most realize, but Dean's examples of visionary leadership inspire hope for a healthier future. Written by the expert on moral injury in medicine, this book is a critical read for all in healthcare."
Lydia Dugdale, MD, author of The Lost Art of Dying: Reviving Forgotten Wisdom, and Director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia University