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NONFICTION : HEAL THYSELF, THE HEALTH OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS, edited by Cynthia D. Scott and Joann Hawk (Brunner/Mazel: $30).

August 17, 1986|Patricia Seidenbaum

"Physicians take their own lives with greater frequency and generally at an earlier age than do members of the general population." For female physicians the rate is four times as high as among other contemporary women. Chemical dependency among all physicians is over 30 times higher than the general population. Physicians pay poor attention to their own health needs, the vast majority having neither regular personal physicians nor checkups; when they do seek professional attention, compliance is poor and treatment frequently terminated against medical advice. So say contributors to the first section of "Heal Thyself, The Health of Health Care Professionals."

The editors of this compilation of articles have divided the book into three sections defining the problems and suggesting interventions for treatment and prevention.

Most impaired physicians are found to lead imbalanced lives--they are workaholics. Problems appear to begin in the selection process; as one author explains, "the medical school recruitment process favors those who are emotionally inexpressive."

The book is necessary reading for educators of health care professionals and those contemplating such a career. Caring for others requires some caring for self.

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