The Anatomy of Hope

The Anatomy of Hope

Jerome Groopman’s How People Prevail in the Face of Illness: The Anatomy of Hope taught patients, vital lessons about coping in life. This book covered a number of medical case studies. It showed the author as a beginning intern while undergoing his first experiences with patients, and later in his profession as an oncologist.

Groopman’s growth became evident by the way he related to patients. At first under a teaching associate, he tried to give a patient a hopeful picture. This was the case, although this woman had cancer that had metastasized. But as this doctor developed in his practice, he provided his patients with the necessary data, and instilled a true hope in their condition.

His patients therefore benefited from this new approach. Groopman was able to develop professionally, and made it his duty to talk to experts about patients’ emotions. He was particularly interested in the nature of hope. This information made him aware of sections of the brain that were responsible for positive behavior. Yet, he realized that there could be false hope. This new gift in his medical tool box led him to successfully treat his patients. But he also lost others to illness in the process. One patient who he was fond of died, and devastated him. This setback was hard to take.

Some chapters dealt with Groopman himself as a patient. He had suffered a back injury during a marathon. The author was experiencing excruciating pain, visited specialists at different hospitals, but was unable to find relief. It was interesting to note that how being a doctor didn’t help his condition. To find a cure he consulted with different specialists. Fortunately, he was able to find relief, his condition improved, and he could walk many blocks. Groopman had put this belief of hope in action as he underwent physical therapy, and the stress of living with a bad back just like he did with his patients.        



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