"On August 27, 1967, one week before I was supposed to start medical school, an intruder broke into our apartment while my husband was at work. In the ensuing struggle, I fell from the third floor fire ladder I was using to escape, into the brick alley below. As I learned later, my back was immediately broken; I had become a paraplegic. I did not start medical school until September 1968, having spent most of the preceding year in the hospital and in rehabilitation. I was now 'independent at a wheelchair level,' including driving my own (specially-equipped) car. I was also able to walk short distances using braces and crutches. These poems describe events from my medical student, resident and attending physician days. They describe experiences of both being a doctor and being a patient. They also touch on the response of others to a physician with an obvious disability. They encompass my careers in both internal medicine and in psychiatry." --Beryl B. Lawn
BERYL LAWN, born in Cleveland, Ohio, spent her early childhood in College Station, Texas. When she was nine, her father joined the foreign service, and until she began college (at the University of Pennsylvania) she lived outside the United States. Prior to starting Temple Medical School she was involved in a crime-related incident, sustained a spinal-cord injury, and became a paraplegic. Her subsequent life (medical school, postgraduate training, medical practice, marriage) has been spent in a wheelchair. Author is now living in Temple, Texas.
What Readers Are Saying:
"We have had the privilege of using selections from Poems from Both Sides of the Fence to initiate and facilitate small group discussions in our Inter-proffesional HealthCare Ethics course at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Baryl Lawn's poetry has the ability to convey powerful images of real life medical issues in just a few words. Her poetry captures the essence of medical humanity at its best and worst. I think this should be required reading for all healthcare providers, especially medical students and residents." -- Lori L. Wick, MD, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Humanities, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Scott & White Health Care
"This accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking collection seems a natural for medical humanities courses. Poems from it elicited excellent discussion from medical students I teach. They also could serve well in classes for other health-professional students and for college undergraduates." -- Barbara Gastel, MD, Texas A&M University and College of Medicine