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AIDS Doctor Surviving the Fall: The Personal Journey of an AIDS Doctor

JAMA. 1998;280(14):1275. doi:10.1001/jama.280.14.1275.
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Peter Selwyn's medical career is exactly contemporaneous with the AIDS epidemic among drug users in the Bronx, as mine is with the San Francisco epidemic. In Surviving the Fall: The Personal Journey of an AIDS Doctor, Selwyn recounts how, as director of Montefiore's methadone maintenance program, he found himself at the epicenter of the epidemic and shares what he learned from the people he cared for there. Without sugarcoating the challenges posed by addiction and drug addicts, Selwyn recalls a number of patients who particularly affected him and, through brief, finely drawn evocations, reminds us that despite apparently insurmountable barriers imposed by differences in class, race, and life experience, we can connect with the patients we care for and find them, in W.H. Auden's words, "mortal, guilty and . . . entirely beautiful."


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