Grief Connects Us

Grief Connects Us

A Neurogsurgeon's Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion

Joseph D. Stern


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  • Foreword by Sanjay Gupta, MD, chief medical correspondent, CNN
  • Encourages the reader, both patient and physician alike, to rethink the ways in which we discuss death and dying in the medical setting.
  • Narrative-driven: Presented in large part through stories told by the author, and through his sister’s journal entries, as well as through conversations with other contributing physicians and patients.
  • Highlights the fact that not one of us goes untouched by illness or death, thereby making the subject matter critical for all.
  • Ultimately hopeful and instructive: Urges us all to find a new path forward in the way we approach life and death, one driven by empathy and encourages medical professionals to rethink how we make decisions for and deliver care to our patients.

  • Author

    Joseph D. Stern:
    Joseph Stern, MD is a partner in the country’s largest neurosurgical group practice, Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, and practices neurosurgery at the Moses H. Cone Hospital, the flagship hospital of Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Stern has published three recent essays in the New York Times: “Dying in the Neurosurgical I.C.U” (January 14, 2020), “Moral Distress in Neurosurgery” (August 15, 2019), and “Grief As My Guide: How My Sister Made Me a Better Doctor” (September 14, 2018). Visit Dr. Stern at