Sherwin Bernard Nuland (born Shepsel Ber Nudelman), December 8, 1930 – March 3, 2014, was an American surgeon
and writer who taught bioethics
, history of medicine
, and medicine
at the Yale School of Medicine
, and occasionally bioethics
and history of medicine
at Yale College. His 1994 book ''How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter'' was a
New York Times Best Seller
and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction
["National Book Awards – 1994"]
National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
as well as being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
In 2011 Nuland was awarded the Jonathan Rhoads Gold Medal of the American Philosophical Society
, for “Distinguished Service to Medicine.”
Nuland wrote non-academic articles for ''The New Yorker
'', ''The New York Times
'', ''The New Republic
'', ''MIT Technology Review
'' and the ''New York Review of Books
''. He was a fellow of the Hastings Center
, an independent bioethics research institution.
Nuland was born Shepsel Ber Nudelman in The Bronx
, New York City, on December 8, 1930, to immigrant Ukrainian Jewish
parents, Meyer Nudelman (a garment repairman) (1889-1958)
and Vitsche Lutsky (1893-1941).
[Sherwin B. Nuland, ‘How We Die’ Author, Dies at 83]
''The New York Times''. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
Although raised in a traditional Orthodox Jew
ish home, he came to consider himself agnostic
, but continued to attend synagogue
. As a Lithuanian Jew, he witnessed anti-Semitic discrimination against his cousin and changed his name when he applied to college to ensure admittance.
Nuland was a graduate of The Bronx High School of Science
, New York University
and Yale School of Medicine
, where he obtained his M.D.
degree and also completed a residency
At the time of his death, he was living in Connecticut
with his second wife, Sarah Nuland (née Peterson). He had four children, two from each marriage. His daughter Victoria Nuland
, a career foreign service officer
and the former U.S. ambassador
and former spokesperson for the Department of State
, was appointed Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in September, 2013.
Dr. Nuland avowed a “unique relationship” with death. The 1994 National Book Award for nonfiction was granted to his ''How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter''.
In a 2001 TED
talk, which was released in October 2007, Nuland spoke of his severe depression
and obsessive thoughts in the early 1970s, probably caused by his difficult childhood and the dissolution of his first marriage. As drug therapy remained ineffective, a lobotomy
was suggested, but his treating resident suggested electroshock therapy
instead, which led to his recovery. Twelve years after the talk, TED's Curator, Chris Anderson, recalled that Nuland's talk “remains one of the most powerful moments in the conference’s history.”
Nuland was also one of the featured lecturers at One Day University
In 2005, Nuland produced a series of lectures for the Teaching Company's The Great Courses
on the history of Western medicine
titled ''Doctors: The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed Through Biography''.
Nuland died on March 3, 2014, at his home in Hamden, Connecticut, of prostate cancer.
* ''Doctors: The Biography of Medicine'' (New York: Knopf, 1988)
* ''Medicine: The Art of Healing'' (New York: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc. Distributed by Macmillan, 1992)
* ''How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter'' (New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 1994)
* ''The Wisdom of the Body'' (New York: Knopf, 1997)
* ''How We Live'' (New York: Vintage Books, 1998) riginally published as ''The Wisdom of the Body'' in 1997
* ''Leonardo Da Vinci (Penguin Lives)'' (New York: Viking, 2000)
* ''The Mysteries Within: A Surgeon Explores Myth, Medicine, and the Human Body'' (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000)
* ''The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis'' (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003)
* ''Lost in America: A Journey with My Father'' (New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 2003)
* ''Maimonides (Jewish Encounters)'' (New York: Nextbook: Schocken, 2005)
* ''The Art of Aging: A Doctor's Prescription for Well-Being'' (New York: Random House, 2007)
* ''The Uncertain Art: Thoughts on a Life in Medicine'' (New York: Random House, 2008)
* ''The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside'' (New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2009)
Sherwin B. Nuland tells his life story
Sherwin Nuland's 2001 TEDTalk
on the history of electroshock therapy and his personal experience with severe depression
Sherwin Nuland vs. Aubrey de Grey in a clip from the documentary, HOW TO LIVE FOREVER
''In Depth'' interview with Nuland, October 2, 2005
* Sherwin B. Nuland Papers. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Category:American medical historians
Category:American people of Ukrainian-Jewish descent
Category:American science writers
Category:Deaths from prostate cancer
Category:Hastings Center Fellows
Category:Jewish American scientists
Category:National Book Award winners
Category:New York University alumni
Category:Yale School of Medicine alumni
Category:Yale School of Medicine faculty