While many physicians are called to the profession from a young age or commit to it early in life because of onerous pre-requisites and medical school admission requirements, others find their way to the bedside through more meandering routes. When the leap into medicine spans such a great distance, when the change of direction from a person’s past pursuits into the profession is so abrupt, I automatically become curious. What happened in this person’s life, or in their mind, to send them from one domain, one particular way of thinking about the world or going about their days, into the very different and idiosyncratic world of medical training and practice?
As a doctoral candidate writing a thesis on the ethics of war, Will Feldman felt a need to take his ethical reasoning and moral questions outside of the theoretical realm and into the real world. That’s what brought him to a neurology ward as an observer and, a decade later, to his work as a critical care physician, clinical ethicist, and health services researcher.
William B. Feldman completed his doctorate in Political Theory from Oxford University before entering medical school at the University of California San Francisco. He subsequently completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, along with a Master’s of Public Health at Harvard University and a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s.
He is now Associate Physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Faculty in the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics And Law (PORTAL) and Co-Chair of that hospital’s Ethics Committee and Associate Director of its Ethics Service.
Will’s credentials and background may seem quite distant from the daily reality of critical care medicine or pulmonology clinic, and yet our conversation revealed how he has woven together the many strands of his academic and professional development into a coherent and meaningful whole. Speaking to Will also illustrates something I’ve always felt to be true: that diverse approaches, backgrounds and intellectual traditions only serve to deepen medicine’s
impact and relevance.
Will's profile and twitter
Informed consent paper
Crisis standards of care paper
OTC inhaler paper and tweet thread
Inhaler patents paper and tweet thread
CBC article on effort to regulate Canadian drug prices
Recorded May 20, 2022
Music: Mr Smith
Art: Jeff Landman