This post is the third and final of this year’s series on medical lessons learned from movies. It relays the story of Dr. Jack McKee, as told in the 1991 film "The Doctor," starring William Hurt. The movie is loosely based on the 1988 book, "A Taste Of My Own Medicine," an autobiography by Dr. Edward Rosenbaum.
What do you call a doctor whose attitude and approach toward patient experience transform entirely within just a few months? One who gets a taste of his own medicine.
That's the story of Dr. Jack McKee, a successful surgeon at a leading San Francisco hospital. His bedside manner is severely lacking. As a surgeon, he expresses his care with a scalpel.
"Surgery is about judgment ... you have to be detached," he remarks to a group of interns during rounds, early in the film. "Caring is all about time. When you've got 30 seconds before someone bleeds out, I'd rather you cut straight and care less." In addressing patients, he comes off as arrogant, aloof, and, at...