A brutally frank memoir about doctors and patients in a health care system that puts the poor at risk.
No Apparent Distress begins with a mistake made by a white medical student that may have hastened the death of a working-class black man who sought care in a student-run clinic. Haunted by this error, the author—herself from a working-class background—delves into the stories and politics of a medical training system in which students learn on the bodies of the poor. Part confession, part family history, No Apparent Distress is at once an indictment of American health care and a deeply moving tale of one doctor’s coming-of-age.
About the Author
Rachel Pearson, MD, PhD, is a resident physician who also holds a PhD from the Institute for the Medical Humanities. Her writing has appeared in Scientific American, the Guardian, the Texas Observer, and the New York Times Book Review.
A notable contribution to the medical bildungsroman.
— British Medical Journal Blogs
Engrossing.… Pearson’s vivid writing sometimes lulls you into the trance of a good story—character, voice, plot, conflict—but there’s always the sucker punch at the end to remind you of the gruesome endpoint of the American healthcare system.… Her literary skill is apparent in her book. Her courage, honesty and doggedness are evident on every page. — Danielle Ofri - New York Times Book Review
No Apparent Distress is filled with the moving stories of a medical student’s journey providing health care at the margins of American life. Rachel Pearson shines a spotlight on the brutal inequalities present within our healthcare system.
— Damon Tweedy, MD, author of Black Man in a White Coat
Rachel Pearson comes from a hard place. In her memoir No Apparent Distress she tells the story of a Texas hospital that has been flattened by a hurricane and is being rebuilt—literally rebuilt—around her and her colleagues while they pursue their medical training. Working at a clinic for the poor and uninsured teaches Pearson the empathy she will need to cultivate if she expects to act as an effective advocate for her patients. It also teaches her about the inequities and injustices of the American health care system, and the labor of love required of anyone who decides to pursue the practice of medicine in this country.
— Judy Melinek, MD, and T. J. Mitchell, coauthors of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner