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    We will look for the VQR upon your recommendation. Anyone who appreciates the charms of Charlottesville (and the subtlety of Belgian beer)automatically carries high credibility!

    Not too far over the mountain is Mount Crawford, VA. For the omnivorous and adventurous reader, a must-see attraction is the Green Valley Book Fair. It's worth the drive.

    We take our kids there every year, and promising to be frugal going in, end up walking out with bags of books.

    All the best.

    Mark Manley

    Dr Chen,
    Just finished your book and wanted to find some way to show my appreciation. I am a physician of 15 years in anesthesiology, yet began my training in end of life care when my wife was diagnosed with metastatic cancer nine years ago. Her treatment and ultimate death were the most difficult times of my life. If there was any positive for me, it was gaining a tremendous respect for the importance of caring for the person, rather than the disease, especially in terminal cases. Your book truly touched me, as a physician and as caregiver. I will enthusiastically recommend it to all my colleagues.

    Peter Zeldow

    Pauline -

    Just completed Final Exam and wanted to tell you how intelligent, compassionate, and beautifully written it is. I only recently leaned that you were in Chicago earlier this year. I regret missing your talk and the opportunity to say hello. Congratulations!

    Grace T

    Hi Dr. Chen,

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed your seminar at the Muse.

    I'm waiting for my mother to finish reading your book and can't wait to get to it!




    Dear Dr. Chen:

    I saw your book spotlighted by Ho Chie on and purchased a copy as I was searching for summer reading to keep me occupied in the small trips ahead. Unfortunately (or not), my plan backfired: I read your entire book in two days and haven't even left for my trips.

    I don't know how to let you know how much I appreciate your reflections. I approached your work largely as a Taiwanese American woman who has always craved a voice, whether through television, films, visual culture, politics, or literature; partly as someone who was pre-med once-upon-a-time and is watching fellow recent grads as they begin their journeys into medical school; and partly simply as a human being who has never really had to face mortality but found this to be a beautiful space for contemplation.

    At any rate, I hope I will get to meet you one day soon. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see a part of your work. Thank you!


    I am impressed with you're saying. I might have to check it out. Thanks.

    Kim T.

    Can I tell YOU a story? These are the first words that I ever heard from you on Morning Stories. I was downloading podcasts from NPR and that was one of the options. I then found your book on Amazon and ordered the audio version. I have only finished the first disc, and felt compelled to write. My sister passed away at age 58 in May 2008 of metastatic breast cancer (liver/lungs). As a nurse her whole career, her lifelong desire was to donate her body to science as a final contribution. In hearing you talk about your cadaver in med school I could only think about her decision. My sister was a heavy smoker; her breast cancer discovered in 2005, then cancer in the liver/lungs in 2007. It really was emotional for me listening to your story about the last time with the cadaver and you thanking her for her last contribution. Ironically, that was what was written in my sisters obit. - that her lifelong desire was to continue giving to the medical field and therefore donating her body to Duke University. After listening to the disc in the car, I came home in tears and announced to my husband and teenage kids that I too want to donate my body to science.

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    Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality

    • Now on sale in paperback January 8, 2008


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