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What's Left Out

Jay Baruch

144 pages
The Kent State University Press
Short stories about the complex maze of health care

Conventional medical narratives often fail to capture the incoherent, surreal, and logic-twisting reality of the contemporary healthcare experience, where mystery, absurdity, and even cruelty are disguised as logic, reason, and compassion. In this new collection of stories by physician and writer Jay Baruch, characters struggle in their quest for meaning and a more hopeful tomorrow in a strange landscape where motivations are complex and convoluted and what is considered good and just operates as a perpetually shifting proposition.

Readers are invited to eavesdrop on the conversations and thoughts of those negotiating the healthcare landscape while attempting to maintain their sanity. Each glimpse into the minds of patients, doctors, and family members reveals the stark reality that reason and compassion are not always the lifeblood of a system devoted to healing. From a weary night shift doctor dealing with a chronic patient to a physician figuring out how to tell the next of kin about a relative’s death, each of Baruch’s characters exposes the multitude of emotions lurking behind the strained and sickly faces in the hospital waiting room.

With imagination and an eye for detail, Baruch takes readers on an unsparing ride through the hidden, ignored, or misunderstood challenges facing healers and the ill. It is a world where communities shoulder unrelenting burdens, optimism is held with caution, and people ration their dreams. Baruch’s vivid storytelling guides his readers through the incoherent and emotionally fraught reality he has faced during his twenty years as an emergency physician. The stories in What’s Left Out ask readers to take risks, to make leaps into unfamiliar territory, and, like the larger healthcare enterprise, to develop comfort and trust in the untraditional and unexpected.

Author Bio
Jay Baruch obtained his medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook before working as an emergency physician. Currently, Baruch is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. He is also the Director of the Program in Clinical Arts and Humanities and the Co- Director of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholarly Concentration Program. Baruch is the author of Fourteen Stories: Doctors, Patients, and Other Strangers (The Kent State University Press, 2007).