Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview: Dr. Frederic A. Mendelsohn - A Doctor's Journey

I am very happy to introduce Dr. Frederic A. Mendelsohn author of A Doctor's Journey to all of you!

SD: Was there a specific moment or incident that prompted you to write this book? 
Dr. M: I have been collecting stories and anecdotes for most of my professional career but it has been in the past 2-3 years that I decided to polish some of the stories for possible publication.  I can not recall any seminal moment that prompted me to advance in this way but I think that my re-reading some of the work of Lewis Thomas may have been the impetus that spurred me to write and re-write these stories.
SD: How did you decide which stories would be included? 
Dr. M: Deciding what stories to include was difficult.  Frankly I was concerned that a patient or colleague might read and subsequently recognize themselves and become offended.  To include or exclude a story depended on several factors.  For example, the cover of the book was designed by a young man who because of a tragic accident, became my patient at age three.  His story is inspiring and quite emotional.  I decided not to include it in the book because over the years, I have become best friends with his parents and I felt that revealing his story was much too personal.
SD: Did you ever consider writing a complete fictional novel based on any of your experiences? 
Dr. M: I would love to write a fictional story based on my experience ala Robin Cook, but thus far have yet to invent a believable, compelling plot line.
SD: Of all the patients you’ve treated over the years, is there one in particular that helped you become a better doctor? 
Dr. M: I think that it has been a cumulative effect.  Certainly seeing many patients increases a doctors diagnostic acumen by virtue of exposure to more disease states.  In addition there is something to be said for repetition.
SD: Your love and appreciation of music is very evident.  What are your thoughts on music therapy?  Do you think that it would be a beneficial part of a treatment plan under certain circumstances? 
Dr.M:  I think that music therapy is a wonderful addition as a treatment modality for many disease states.  I was a co-founder of a school for special needs children and have served on its board since its inception over 20 years ago.  We employ a number of Music Therapists and find their input extremely valuable.
SD: Do you still play the French horn? 
Dr. M: Unfortunately, I have been unable to play the French horn since throat surgery 20 years ago.  Now I play CD’s! I have turned to painting and writing to assuage my creative yearnings.
SD: Do you think your musical roots influenced your decision to go into neurology, as opposed to other fields of medicine? 
Dr. M: I do not think that my love of music influenced my choice of neurology as a specialty.  I was simply fascinated by the problem solving, cognitive aspect of neurological diagnosis.
SD: Of your three sons are any musically inclined? Do any of them practice medicine? 
Dr. M: All three of my sons play multiple instruments.  While none gravitated to the horn, all play piano and guitar.  None of them are physicians.  One sells AFLAC, another is a financial advisor and the third designs and manufactures eyewear under his own company label, KBL Eyewear.
SD: Do you have any regrets about choosing medicine over music? Or do you feel as though your choice was the perfect marriage between the two? 
Dr. M: Over the years I have come to grips with the fact that I have made the correct choice.  While I feel that I would have become and adequate musician, I know that I am a much better neurologist than a musician.  In addition, the practice of neurology has given me the opportunity to help a great number of patients over the years and that in itself is extremely gratifying.
SD: Since you’re a musician and an artist, which brings you the most peace, when you’re not practicing medicine? 
Dr. M: I absolutely love painting.  It is the only activity that I participate in that allows me to feel completely alive yet blissfully calm.  Even when I was performing music, I felt very much alive but not always calm.  Painting like writing is like Zen for me.
A Doctor's Journey: A Collection of MemoirsA Doctor's Journey: A Collection of Memoirs is available in paperback, hardback and ebooks, wherever books are sold. 

Read my review.


Best O' Books said...

Very detailed and interesting interview--thanks. Rae

Stacey Donaldson said...

@ Rae - Thanks for stopping by!

Sidne,the BCR said...

Nice interview. I finished reading a book a few months back titled, Doctor's Confidential. I may add this to my book list also.

Tracy Smith said...

Great interview! I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving the kind comments. I truly appreciate it! I am a new follower on GFC as countrysunset40. Come on over to visit anytime!!

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