Patient As Teacher Orientation For Students


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Based loosely on Dr. Edward Rosenbaum’s 1988 book, A Taste of my Own Medicine: When the Doctor is the Patient, the film portrays the transformation of Dr. Jack MacKee (William Hurt), a successful surgeon who lacks bedside manner with his patients. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, Jack experiences life in the hospital he practices in from the perspective of his patients. He returns to work and begins to teach new medical residents about the importance of compassion and sensitivity when treating their patients.

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This classic film is based on the life story of Joseph Carey Merrick (“the elephant man”), born with a disfiguring congenital disease and exhibited at a London freak show in Victorian England. The film details the relationship between Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) and Merrick (John Hurt). Treves is a dedicated surgeon at the London Hospital who discovers Merrick and treats him with the dignity and respect that Merrick realizes he deserves.

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This film noir is known as a forgotten gem amidst director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s filmography that includes All About Eve, which won 6 Academy Awards the same year. No Way Out presents junior physician Dr. Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier), the first African-American doctor at the urban county hospital where he trained. However, Brooks’ patience and ethics are tested when his patients confront him with racism and hatred. The film illuminates the racial divide in America in the mid-twentieth century, a theme that still resonates for viewers today.

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Based on the life story of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, the film follows Patch (Robin Williams), a physician who believes humour is the best medicine. Initially, a patient himself in a mental institution, Patch is determined to become a medical doctor himself but his unconventional methods of healing are not appreciated by all members of the medical community.

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A classic film noir that follows Dr. Noah Praetorius (Cary Grant), a beloved professor at the medical school and head of a medical clinic that provides holistic and humanistic care. Dr. Rodney Elwell (Hume Cronyn), a jealous colleague who disapproves of Praetorius’ unconventional methods, launches a malpractice suit against him. The film offers some reflection for modern day viewers on the doctor-patient relationship, gender in the medical landscape, and other societal issues.

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A film adaptation of Margaret Edson’s 1999 play W;t, the story centres on Vivian Bearing, Professor of English Literature (Emma Thompson) and her experiences receiving treatment for ovarian cancer from a health care team that includes oncologist Dr. Harvey Kelekian (Christopher Lloyd) and her former student, Dr. Jason Posner (Jonathan M. Woodward). Art and medicine collide as Vivian meditates on poetry to reflect on her condition and the care she receives.

The film and play text are available on loan from the University of Toronto Libraries and Toronto Public Library.