Van Peenen, H. J.
Genre: Collection (Mixed Genres)
- Coulehan, Jack
- Date of entry: Jan-21-2000
This is a collection of medically related stories and poetry, most of which were previously published in medical journals like JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), Annals of Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Medicine. "Country Doctors of Humble Pie," "Boss Cow," and "Discipline" are humorous tales about small town medical practice. "Second Opinions," "Net Worth," and "Making Friends" are stories of patients and their idiosyncrasies.
"Hafiz Ali Goes Home" concerns a dying man who wishes to return to his home village to die, rather than dying in the sterile confines of the hospital. The story details the misadventures of Hafiz Ali's two sons as they attempt to carry out his last request.
Many of the poems deal with clinical diagnoses ("Zoster" and "Lupus Erythematosis") or the history of medicine ("Towne of Guy's" and "The Turning"). "Doing Post-Mortems" is a thoughtful poem about the war (or relationship?) between the sexes in medicine.
Ponca City, Okla.
H. J. Van Peenen is a retired physician whose stories and poems about medical practice are full of insight, humor, and a keen sense of history. His tales about the personal aspects of medical education and practice are appealing and accessible.
"Kipp" and "Beta," which deal with the foibles and anxieties of medical students, are particularly attractive stories for use in courses that cover professionalism and virtue in medical education. Similarly, "Second Opinions," "Net Worth," and "Making Friends" present interesting perspectives on patient compliance and decision making.