Monday, November 4, 2013

Photo by Gregory Rec in the Boston Globe
Strength from adversity might best describe Dr. Michael Palmer.  This obituary by Bryan Marquard begins:

A physician who nearly lost his career to drug and alcohol dependency, Dr. Michael Palmer found his way back to his calling partly by helping heal other doctors, and by replacing his daily pills with a page of writing every night.

“By the end of the 1970s, I was in solid recovery, and by 1981, I began to reach out to find doctors whom I could help,” he told the Globe in 2008. “It coincided with the beginning of writing. In retrospect, having a book to write was one of the things that kept me sane.”

My friend and colleague Rabbi Robert Goldstein adds:

Michael had an extraordinary career.  He was first and foremost a physician; but he was also a talented and highly successful writer, and perhaps most notably a recovering addict who courageously and generously used his experience to help others.  While still a young internist practicing in Falmouth he became addicted to drugs.  Michael eventually recovered and used much of his energy, aside from writing, to help other impaired physicians.  I sincerely believe that Michael, who was a skilled clinician, probably saved as many lives in his work with his colleagues who were in trouble as he did when he had a busy practice.  He was truly a healer of bodies and souls.


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