First the Patient: The Life and Times of David G. Nathan, MD


A fast-paced account of a giant of 20th century medicine, First the Patient details how David Nathan saved patients with his medical skill and rescued institutions with his visionary leadership.

The miraculous triumphs of modern medicine—antibiotics, insulin, cancer cures, longer and better lives—are the fruits of its firm grounding in science. But too often, the healing touch, the empathy of a physician for the patient, and the art of medicine, can be neglected in pursuit of breakthroughs.

David Nathan never accepted that bargain. A brilliant hematologist thoroughly steeped in scientific rigor with a research track record to prove it, Nathan was above all a humanist, a caring physician who never failed to put the patient first even when that patient was his research subject. This same humanism, along with the profound psychological insights it affords, propelled Nathan to the top ranks of academic leadership. He served first at Boston Children’s Hospital, then at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where, as president, he rescued a hospital on the brink of extinction after its doctors administered a fatal chemotherapy overdose. First the Patient is the story of a physician who left an indelible imprint on medicine through his relentless focus on the patient.