Dr. Neil Spector, associate professor of Medicine and of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University, will be at Bull’s Head Bookshop at UNC-Chapel Hill at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, to read from his new book “Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician’s Search for True Healing.”
Spector, one of the nation’s top oncologists, led a charmed life. He was educated at prestigious universities, trained at top medical centers, and had married the woman of his dreams. It seemed too perfect. And it was.
In 1994, it all came crashing down. He and his wife lost two unborn children. And a mysterious illness brought him to the brink of death. In his compelling memoir (Nautilus Publishing, $14.95), Spector describes in great detail how he was misdiagnosed and, despite being a medical insider, was often discounted by his fellow physicians.
As he recounts his personal approach to medicine and physician / patient relationships, Spector encourages readers to never surrender their power to a third party. He tells of courageous patients who served as role models, he concedes that doctors do a disservice to patients when “we treat them like statistics,” and he advocates for educated patients who can make informed decisions collaboratively and not simply follow instructions.
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“To recognize that we are in control of our own bodies and destinies can be a powerful step toward true healing,” he says.
Spector attended UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate student and was part of the men’s soccer team while at Carolina. He was also an adjunct associate professor of medicine during the 2000s. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife, daughter and two dogs.