Jerome Groopman is the Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Experimental Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a staff writer at The New Yorker. He is the coauthor, with Pamela Hartzband, of Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You.
(November 2018)

Follow Jerome Groopman on Twitter: @groopman.


The Elusive Artificial Heart

A patient’s family feeling the beat of an artificial heart after surgery at Humana Hospital-Audubon, Louisville, Kentucky, 1984

Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart

by Mimi Swartz

Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology

by Shelley McKellar
In the spring of 1974, my fifty-five-year-old father had a heart attack. He was rushed to a small community hospital in Queens. I was living in Manhattan, studying medicine at Columbia. By the time I arrived at the hospital, he was in shock, gasping for breath, his heart unable to …

The Bugs Are Winning

Penicillium chrysogenum (also known as Penicillium notatum), the mold that produces the antibiotic penicillin

Superbugs: An Arms Race Against Bacteria

by William Hall, Anthony McDonnell, and Jim O’Neill
Bacteria that have developed immunity to a large number of antibiotics are termed “superbugs.” The best known is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. It originally appeared in intensive care units, among surgical patients. In this setting, MRSA primarily causes pneumonia and bloodstream infection from catheters. But over the past two decades, the resistant microbes have spread outside hospitals to the larger community.

The Sounds of Silence

The Abbé de l’Épée, who founded a school for the deaf in Paris in 1755 and was the first to recognize that they could be taught with sign language

The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices

by Gerald Shea
Several years ago, I noticed difficulty hearing; testing showed diminished perception of high frequencies, a common consequence of aging. Hearing aids were prescribed, which helped to amplify sounds but weren’t a complete remedy. Background noise in restaurants made it difficult to discern the conversation of dinner partners, and I often …

Putting Profits Ahead of Patients

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back

by Elisabeth Rosenthal

Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks

by Geoffrey C. Kabat
At the center of both our flawed current system and its disastrous proposed replacement is a fundamental reality: health care in the United States is enormously costly, often in ways that are baffling not only to patients but to doctors themselves.

Sick But Not Sick

Is It All in Your Head? True Stories of Imaginary Illness

by Suzanne O’Sullivan
Suzanne O’Sullivan is a neurologist specializing in epilepsy who practices in London. Many of her patients suffer from so-called conversion disorders: somatic symptoms caused by psychological distress that defy ready diagnosis by medical tests or physical examination. “They are medical disorders like no others,” O’Sullivan writes. “They obey no rules. They can affect any part of the body…. Almost any symptom we can imagine can become real when we are in distress.”

Cancer: A Time for Skeptics

Robert Pope: Radiation, 1989

The Death of Cancer

by Vincent T. DeVita Jr. and Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn
The progress over the past forty-five years in combating cancer arose largely from challenging authority and rejecting conventional thinking.

A Doctor’s Body Language

Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975

Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum

by Gavin Francis
It was the first day of medical school, and I was about to dissect the corpse of a middle-aged woman. Like all the cadavers in the anatomy lab, her head, hands, and feet were covered by gauze. The instructor pointed to an exposed arm and showed me how to cut …