A Way With Words

The beauty of doctors as storytellers.



Roberto Gonzalez

Welcome to our annual Finest Doctors issue, which lists more than 500 physicians recommended by their peers in numerous specialties. Admittedly, the abundance of information can be a bit overwhelming, but you’ll quickly discover that many of those who have made their mark in the healing arts also shine on these pages in another field: writing. 

First, you’ll find accounts by 12 doctors about memorable moments in their careers. This is a feature we’ve included in the section for several years, and the doctors have some powerful stories to tell. For example, Dr. Kavita Pattani relates how fate placed her squarely in the middle of treating patients from two of the most profound tragedies of our time. Several other doctors relate compelling accounts of patients who overcame the odds, while others tell sad but inspiring stories of life and death. 

Then there are the poets. Writer Cheri Henderson talks to four local doctors who have found a voice in writing verse: Stan Sujka and son Joseph, Marc Demers and Thomas Gibbs. As Joseph Sujka puts it: “You encounter something in medicine—a snapshot—and you need a way to capture that snapshot.” Actually doctors have done this for centuries. One of the most famous doctor poets was William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), whose poem “The Red Wheelbarrow’’ made an impression on me in high school because it overflowed with imagery—and yet was just 16 words long. You can check out the works by our local physician poets in this issue and online.

With the advent of the holiday season, we have selected 22 “Shops We Love’’ to help you with your shopping list. The businesses range from clothes and accessories to antiques and kids’ toys. Elsewhere, Michael McLeod looks back at the dazzling first year of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, from first-rate shows to the game-changing actions of donors to the disappearance of “The Pile.’’ (Yes, the rubble that once marred the landscape is thankfully now a distant memory.) Dining critic Joseph Hayes reviews The Osprey Tavern, where the chef is a creative risk-taker who knows his game.  And Greg Dawson decides to become a life coach—just don’t press him about his credentials.

Finally, it’s time to vote for your favorite restaurants in our annual Dining Awards poll. Just fill in the ballot in categories ranging from barbecue to burgers, Chinese to Middle Eastern, best place for kids to most romantic restaurant. Deadline to cast your ballot is Feb. 1, and you’ll be placed in a drawing to win dinner for two at a top restaurant just for voting.

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