“Robert Loeb was the best damned ethicist I ever met.” When I first heard a senior colleague of mine utter these words in the mid-1990s, I was surprised.  Time had not been particularly kind to Loeb, who had been the chairman of medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center from 1947 to 1960.  Among other things, critics had chastised Loeb for being imperious and unwilling to listen; former students had even accused him ...

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When I finished my book on famous patients, the most common question I received was “Are the stories of sick celebrities really relevant to other patients?”  My answer was that yes, with some caveats, these experiences are well-worth knowing. The same can be said for the story of Patrick Swayze’s terminal pancreatic cancer, which has now been told by his widow, actress Lisa Niemi Swayze, in a new book, “Worth Fighting ...

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