Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Professor Atul Gawande reflected on the legacy of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks — and the profound influence Sacks had on his own evolution as a doctor and writer — in a column published online in The New Yorker on September 7, 2015. Sacks, who died on August 30, was known for the case histories he wrote about his patients’ disorders, including the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
“No one taught me more about how to be a doctor than Oliver Sacks,” wrote Gawande, who also is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and executive director of Ariadne Labs. Sacks emphasized that “understanding of disease cannot be separated from the understanding of the person. They are interwoven, and this has been forgotten in our era of scans, tests, genetics, and procedures.”