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The Doctor is a 1991 Americanmarker film directed by Randa Haines and starring William Hurt as a doctor who undergoes a transformation in his views about life, illness and human relationships. It is loosely based on the book A Taste Of My Own Medicine by Dr. Edward E. Rosenbaum.


Dr. Jack MacKee (William Hurt) is a successful surgeon at a leading hospital. He and his wife have all the trappings of success and generally lead a comfortable life, although Jack works such long hours that he rarely has time to see their son and has become somewhat emotionally detached from his wife. His "bedside manner" with his patients, who are in many cases seriously ill, is also quite lacking.

One day while on a drive home from a dinner party, Jack has a coughing fit. His wife is shocked when he coughs up blood particles all over her and the car. In an examination, Jack has a sample of a growth removed from his throat. The biopsy comes back positive for cancer.

He then experiences life as a patient, including the coldness and detachment of hospitals, some doctors, and his own colleagues. He begins to empathize with patients, which is a new experience for him. He befriends June Ellis, a fellow cancer patient who has an inoperable brain tumour.

Although Jack's cancer is treated and cured, June dies. The experience changes Jack forever. When he returns to work, he begins to teach his new medical interns about the importance of showing compassion and sensitivity towards their patients, which in turn will make them better doctors.

Primary cast

Award (nominations)


Adam Arkin and Mandy Patinkin went on to play doctors (neurosurgeon Aaron Shutt and cardiothoracic surgeon Jeffrey Geiger, respectively) in the David E. Kelley series "Chicago Hope", and were joined in later seasons by Christine Lahti (Dr. Kate Austin).

External links

Written by Edward Rosenbaum, MD, Portland, Oregon after his personal struggle with cancer.

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