The Doctors' Doctor

A Biography of Eugene A. Stead, Jr., M.D.

by John Laszlo, M.D., Francis A. Neelon, M.D.

Tags: Biography, Medicine, Regional Interest

Table of Contents (PDF)

360 pp  $50.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-149-1

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This book depicts a remarkable doctor, a clear and practical thinker who changed the rules of medical education in this country. He insisted on intellectual honesty and diligence in the care of all sick people, regardless of their social status or ability to pay their bills. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. taught young doctors how to meet the patient on the patient's terms, how to understand the patient's wants and needs, and then how to provide those services. He set standards of hard work and dedication that changed forever the careers of everyone who came within his orbit, and students emerged from exposure to this master teacher distinguished from their peers in terms of personal satisfaction and medical prowess.

Stead's tutelage produced more chairs of medicine departments than any other medical educator of the mid-20th century. He conceived the idea of an entirely new medical profession — the physician assistant — and saw his brainchild through to maturity. The net result of his influence was the transformation of Duke University Medical Center from a small regional school into one of the top medical centers in the world. His ideas about education in general; about aging and chronic illness; and about the role of doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes are instructive not only for medical doctors but for everyone who strives for excellence.

Stead served as Chair of Medicine at Duke University from 1947-1967, but many of his innovations and nearly all of his thinking remain avant garde.

"This biography…is comprehensive, well-written, and definitive. [It] contains endless examples of Stead's remarkable innovations." — Richard J. Rosen, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)

"A remarkable doctor and medical educator, Stead taught doctors to focus more on individual patients' needs and set a higher standard for patient care and education, leading to the creation of the physician assistant profession." — Columbia College Today Bookshelf

"This is an admiring but not hagiographic life of a distinctive figure in American medicine, written by two of his acolytes. The authors of this biography fulfill their intention, and their work allows us to comprehend a man who was hard to know." — Journal of Long Term Home Health Care