Manhattan Country Doctor: A Memoir
Slocum, Milton Jonathan
- Willms, Janice
- Date of entry: Jul-26-2004
- Last revised: Aug-31-2006
Dr. Slocum leads his readers through some of the high (and low) points of his 34 years of general medical practice in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. The work opens as he and his wife and nurse of as many years close the office they have shared for the last time. Then moving backward for a few chapters, the author discusses briefly his training, including a critical four-month period in Vienna in the year 1932. Slocum was awaiting the results of his Medical board examination and while doing some advance study, experienced first hand the early stages of Nazi activity against Jews in Austria.
After their return to the states and the doctor’s completion of his internship, the young couple located office and home in Manhattan. The remainder of the book is devoted to descriptions of critical events and important professional encounters in more than three decades, organized by chapter, most of which encapsulate a patient and, when present, his or her family.
The style of this memoir is simple narrative. It provides the reader with a clear, unemotional, direct look at what it meant to be a practicing generalist in the heart of Manhattan between 1934 and 1968. There are no pretenses, just the observed facts. The author is ever aware of the limitations of medicine of the time, and of the variability of responses to what it could offer. Most rewarding is Dr. Slocum’s ability to laugh at himself and to resonate with his patients’ joy and pain.