The nearly 350 humorous, heartwarming, and sometimes tragic accounts presented in William Lynwood Montell's latest book, Tales from Kentucky Doctors, offer an unusual perspective on the culture and tradition of Kentucky health-care practice. From the laughable to the laudable, Tales from Kentucky Doctors present illuminating portraits of doctors and patients, drawing stories from physicians with lifetimes of experience serving Kentucky families. In chapter 2, doctors recall the successes and failures that shaped their early careers. For Dr. Baretta R. Casey of Hazard, becoming a doctor was a difficult journey. Already married and with a child, Casey enrolled in college at age thirty, later completed medical school, and began a successful career as a family practitioner in the 1990s. Though patient visitations and doctors' prescriptions are recorded on account ledgers, personal relationships and memories are not part of medical records. The section "Personal Practice" gives a glimpse of the intimate relationships doctors form with their communities. "I doubt that any individual was nearer to the family than the family doctor," Dr. W. L. Tyler says in one story. For many towns, family physicians were heroes. Dr. James S. Brashear relates the challenges of practicing in Central City, a coal mining town, recalling an incident in which he saved the lives of two miners. Handed down to Montell in the oral tradition, the tales presented in this collection represent every part of the state. Personal experiences, humorous anecdotes, and local legends make it a fascinating panorama of Kentucky physicians and of the communities they served.
"These stories are about the anxiety of Kentucky doctors in caring for patients, about their delight when things go well, about their sense of loss when things don't go well, about their cooperation with other doctors when they are uncertain about what to do, and about their appreciation of older doctors as mentors. Medical students and veteran physicians alike will read Montell's book with empathy, knowing the pleasures and pains of practicing medicine and learning from the high standards of medical ethics rendered in these tales." -- Ronald L. Baker, author of From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History
"In Tales from Kentucky Doctors, Montell is a master of oral history research, presenting the bounty of his continuing harvest." -- Christopher Antonsen, Western Kentucky University
"Montell's stories present a personal side of a profession typically known for its objectivity." -- Kentucky Kernel
" Tales from Kentucky Doctors contains... heartwarming and sometimes tragic accounts that won't be found in formal medical history books." -- Kentucky Monthly
"The reader will be impressed by the dedication of the doctors to their patients and communities. The important roles of these dedicated men and women of medicine in Kentucky life shows clearly on the pages of this delightful book." -- Charles F. Allnutt, M.D.
"Readers will realize that the narrators from Tales From Kentucky Doctors are a vanishing breed. Dr. Robert W. Robertson Jr. of Paducah notes, 'Today medicine is literally run by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals.' Dr. Loren J. Ledford of Ashland agrees. But although he notes that "there's a lot of business pressures, insurance pressures, cost of threat of lawsuits, all of which sort of wear you out, I don't know of any other tangible job I could see myself doing.' And so it is with all of the physicians who, in Tales From Kentucky Doctors, relate how their compassion has overcome their frustration and fatigue." -- Louisville Courier-Journal
"Ranging from humorous to tragic, Montell's stories present a personal side of a profession known mostly for its objectivity." -- UK News
"Filled with enough funny stories to make it a compelling book." -- Lexington Herald-Leader
"This book abounds with interesting and amusing anecdotes about life in rural Kentucky. For those of us who grew up during these times, it brings back fond memories of good times and bad." -- Robert V. Haynes, Bowling Green Daily News
"Noted professor of folk studies, William Lynwood Montell, provides and interesting look into the lives of Kentuckians with this book." -- Kentucky Ancestors
"The book gives us a view of doctors we don't often see and gave me a new appreciation of the service they perform. The book lets us see the human side of physicians -- the humorous, the heartwarming -- the tradition of health care in Kentucky." -- Debbie Jenkins Cook, Harrodsburg Herald