Dear Ms. Picoult,
Usually when I read a book, I race through it, eager to know what is going to happen next. With your novel, My Sister's Keeper, however, I found myself rereading some sections over and over again, trying to memorize the emotion-filled language that blends science, philosophy, morality, and ethics. Your book inspires me to go into the field of medicine and become a doctor.
Last July, I went to a summer program in Boston that showed me what it was like to be a doctor or a medical professional. I visited hospitals, talked to doctors in different medical fields and specialties, and watched actual surgeries. I even followed a doctor for a whole day to observe how he spent his day. One of the most important things I learned in this program is that doctors need to sympathize with their patients, understand their situations, and provide the best treatment. Most importantly, doctors need to truly care about their patients; that can make a huge difference in the patients' experiences and recoveries at the hospital. After that camp, I thought that I had understood all of what a doctor had to do. Your book reminded me of my summer experience at the hospitals and helped me understand what the role of the doctor in the patients' treatment was.
Although your book's main focus was not on doctors, it made me consider that if Doctor Chance had not unintentionally suggested that Fitzgeralds had another child, Anna, to be a potential bone marrow donor to save Kate' life, the family would not have been so torn apart. The story made me decide to be a good doctor who is open-minded but still sensitive to her patients' feelings. I want to learn, explore, and examine all possible new medical techniques to overcome the shortcomings of current genetic medical treatments. There is still such a huge amount of suffering due to incurable illnesses, like APL, AIDS, and cancer. The presence of these incurable diseases further motivates me to go into the field of medicine, so that no family should have to go through the suffering that the Fitzgeralds went through.
Your book showed me further how important the hospital was for the patients. When I was five years old, I contracted pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for several days. Back then, my first impression of the hospital was that it was a gloomy, frightening, busy place. When I walked through the hallways, I tried to avoid crashing into the scary-looking people with masks and the huge carts that raced by us. The doctors were serious, professional, and distant.
Now, when I look back, I realize that the hospital should have been a more welcoming place. If the Fitzgeralds had walked into an unwelcoming hospital or had an uncaring doctor, their situation would have been much harder to bear. In your book, you state that the "doctors breeze in and out" and that the "doctors may be mapping out the war games, but it is the nurses who make the conflict bearable" (230). I want to be a doctor who is still like Steph, Willie, Donna, and Ludmilla, the nurses who made the Fitzgeralds' hospital visits bearable. From my point of view, the responsibility of a doctor is to help the patient as much as possible, not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
The ethics behind the medical field in your book also captivated me. Everyone has different ideas of what is right and what is wrong, which you showed readers so clearly in your novel. Sometimes the line between what is right and what is wrong is blurred. Reading your novel was the first time that I found out that human genetic engineering was actually taking place. Before, I was thoroughly against genetic engineering in humans, but your novel made me think twice. Is human genetic engineering still wrong if it can save a life? It raises some interesting questions that will need to be debated. I plan to be foremost in considering these issues when I am in the medical field.
Thank you for addressing these controversial issues and demonstrating how a disease can affect an entire family so much. People who get leukemia, cancer, or some other incurable disease sometimes seem like just a statistic, but your novel proved that wrong through the vibrant voices of the memorable characters. Thank you also for helping me to confirm my decision to go into medicine.