In the Foothills of Medicine, by Dr. Robert McKersie

In the Foothills of Medicine

I was offered a complimentary copy of Dr. Robert McKersie’s Book "In the Foothills of Medicine", as long as I’d write a review of it. I thought this to be a fair trade, and probably poor judgement on Dr. McKersie’s behalf, as I’m not a professional book reviewer, I’m just a grunt doctor.

It’s an interesting study of becoming a doctor (FP), who came to medicine later in life after a time of being a teacher. His written communication skills are terrific, and he’s also a good storyteller. There are many excellent vignettes of his patient care experiences, and patients who touched him. There’s also a painful chapter about love, a lover and loss that makes me appreciate how brave he was to write about it, and include us in his life.

Dr. McKersie is also involved in Himalayan HealthCare, wherein he travels into the mountains of Nepal and practices medicine there. It’s quite a different life and practice from that we’re used to in the US, and his descriptions (almost) make me want to participate. Clearly he enjoys these working vacations, and it shows in his writing.

The cost of medicine, and a desire for some sort of universal health insurance (and frequent readers know about my feelings there) is a very frequent theme in the book, and frankly it’s a bit of a distraction. On more than one occasion, having involved us in the compassionate care of a patient, there’s ‘money’ sticking its head into the story; in a couple of the stories it’s valid, but in several it’s just jarring. I think one, or maybe two of these mentions would have made the point, and frankly I began to scan ahead to see where the ‘money’ paragraphs were so I could just skip them.

In all, a good book, and I hope he keeps writing. He has a skill for it, and a natural openness into his life and practice that’s good for physicians and patients alike.

Dr. McKersie has a web site, where you might also purchase his book, or read about his other interests. 


  1. Looks very interesting. Thanks for the info.