John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932. He is the author of 22 novels (including the famous Rabbit series), fifteen books of short fiction, seven collections of poetry, and five children's books. "Needle Biopsy," an unrhymed sonnet written the month before Updike's death, is from a ten-poem sequence titled "Endpoint" that was pubished in The New Yorker in March 2009. In it Updike writes from the perspective of a patient undergoing a biopsy for cancer. His experience is different than we might expect, and it underscores the shock of the "casually" delivered test result. This poem could be used to spark discussion among health care providers and others whose jobs require them to be bearers of bad news. Are there ways of doing this that respect both the patient or client's right to know the truth and his or her need to feel secure and hopeful?
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Published in The New Yorker, March 16, 2009.
Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.
How does healing occur? What makes it possible?What do we know for sure? What do we not know?Should we keep a distance from the people we serve?Can knowledge be a barrier to wisdom? How?What does it look like to be truly present?