David Hellerstein, MD

Battles of Life and Death

My Books

Nonfiction
How can advances in neuroscience improve the the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders? Heal Your Brain "articulates and helps create a new watershed moment in psychiatric worldview," according to reviewer Bradley Lewis.
Memoir
In this poignant, deeply moving book, Dr. David Hellerstein traces five generations of American medicine -- from the Civil War to the present day -- as seen through the eyes of his unforgettable family.
Novels
A black comedy set in New York City, Stone Babies tells the story of Jay Sones, MD, a young obstetrician working in an infertility treatment center, who is caught up in an evolving medical scandal.
A comic first novel set in Manhattan, Loving Touches explores the love Dr. Pete Roth feels for two very different women: his wife Sarah, a Wall Street lawyer, and Celine, a former girlfriend who has been admitted to his hospital.
Essays
"a unique, beautifully written account of the making of a doctor.... a remarkable document--dramatic, moving and true." --Tobias Wolff, author of Back in the World

Blog and Research Clinic Website

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Battles of Life and Death

A COLLECTION OF 13 AWARD-WINNING ESSAYS ABOUT BECOMING A PHYSICIAN

Battles of Life and Death is a collection of compelling essays about the process of becoming a doctor. From the burn unit, to pediatric clinics, to cancer wards, these tales of medical training are "a forceful and moving human experience" (Medical Tribune).

"Emotionally riveting. The writing is taut, accurate and unsentimental. And entertaining as well."
—Newsday

From Publishers Weekly
Psychiatrist and freelance journalist Hellerstein, son of a medical family, vividly and with considerable literary flair portrays the patients he treated during the stages of his internshipsurgery, neurology, etc.and his residency in psychiatry, which he chose as a specialty because "facts give way to feelings." The author, a graduate of Stanford University Medical School, leaves unnamed his training hospitals. His ingrained faith in medicine was shaken by seeing cases in which patients died from side effects of treatments intended to cure them, and by his realization that, despite modern technology, on occasion illnesses could not be diagnosed until after death. Other hopeless cases, he notes, though correctly diagnosed, foiled the efforts of even the most skillful doctors. Almost unbearable are his accounts of burn victimsone of the most effective chapters in this story of the making of a physician. Literary Guild alternate.

REVIEWS

"a unique, beautifully written account of the making of a doctor.... a remarkable document--dramatic, moving and true." --Tobias Wolff, author of Back in the World

"... a wonderful book. The excitement, anguish, and joy of attending the sick are fully transmitted. The pace is fast, the style dramatic. David Hellerstein is a highly talented writer." --Richard Selzer, author of Mortal Lessons

"Dr. Hellerstein ends by writing with genuine insight and compassion." -- The New York Times