"The Examining Room" Is Now Open

Colin T. Son, MD


August 25, 2009

It is said that medicine is as much art as science. No wonder, then, that the physician-as-writer is part of the literary tradition. Think Chekhov, Holmes, Williams, Doyle -- or, if your tastes are more contemporary, Robin Cook and Michael Crichton.

You may now add "Dr. Charles" to that list. Dr. Charles is a practicing family physician who published his own creative writing, "The Examining Room of Dr. Charles," both online and in print, until 2 years ago when he bid adieu:

The main reason I am taking a break, perhaps a long break, is that my life, like yours, only allows me a finite amount of time for pursuing an avocation. Wish me luck.

Dr. Charles was unique in what he published. He was a storyteller, a creative writer -- not just another physician blogger ranting at the system. (Not all the time, at least.) His best works, the truly evocative pieces, were more fit for The New Yorker than a medical journal's op/ed page.

The hiatus, I am happy to report, is over. The Examining Room of Dr. Charles has reopened at a new location: http://www.theexaminingroom.com/

Enter The Examining Room of Dr. Charles, when it hosts this week's Grand Rounds
August 25, 2009

In a recent interview, Dr. Charles spoke about what took him away from creative writing and what brought him back: He refers to a quote from one of his first new posts

I found that in writing about medicine, I was a better doctor for it. The poetry of people's lives, their loves, ills, and struggles was more easily perceived and appreciated. In writing about the ever-improving body of medical knowledge, I stayed better informed. In writing about my life in medicine, I sustained my energies in a healing art that has existed for as long as people have felt pain and tried to help one another with it. The reflective moment, embodied in the art, analysis, and literature we create, brings light to our present endeavors.

I'll be focusing on the current conversations in medicine, as sparked by medical news, recent discoveries, and other voices on the web and in the media. I reserve the right to embarrass myself by posting a poem at times, or to indulge in the occasional sentimentalism that first got me noticed in the medical blogosphere...

Dr. Charles cites as his favorite new creative works An Old Woman and To Witness a Seizure. From the latter:

I've seen a few seizures, and I find them extremely upsetting. There is something about the uncontainable shudders and vanishing of consciousness that humiliates the human condition. To look at another person, gone while sleeping, can bring a calming peace of mind. But to be riveted in terror at the spectacle of another body convulsing, mutinously, its master imprisoned somewhere deep within, is supremely disturbing. You can't reach that person, and in that moment you don't know if they'll be coming back.

Dr. Charles brings that same style and evocative skill to Grand Rounds this week to celebrate his return to the medical blogosphere. Each week, Grand Rounds showcases the best online medically related writing from physicians, nurses, patients, students, pharmacists, health policy wonks, and others who are interested in healthcare. This week visit Grand Rounds at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles.