In Memoriam: Dr. Eric Cassell

On October 1, 2022, family, friends, and colleagues gathered in New York to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Eric Cassell, who died on September 24, 2021, at the age of 93. There was tears, joy, and inspiration as one after another dedicated professional in medicine, nursing, education, and research, from across generations and countries, spoke of how Dr. Cassell had influenced and supported their lives and work.
Dr. Cassell was a pioneer in patient-centered care who urged his fellow doctors to shift priorities beyond curing their patients’ diseases to caring for their overall well-being. The author of hundreds of articles and multiple books, Dr. Cassell devoted his career to helping providers understand how people experience illness and pain.
Among Dr. Cassell’s 11 books were “The Healer’s Art: A New Perspective on the Doctor-Patient Relationship” (1976; revised in 1985) and “The Nature of Suffering” (1991). In “The Nature of Healing: The Modern Practice of Medicine” (2013), Dr. Cassell argued that a key role of medicine should be to return patients to a sense of well-being, where well-being is based on achieving goals and purposes in life. He believed that listening to patients and determining how they define their own well-being was vital, and that “the spoken language is the most important tool in medicine.”
We are grateful for Dr. Cassell’s contributions to the practice of patient-centered care. We encourage you to make an appointment with one of our dedicated providers at MCHN to talk. Take care and be well.
–Alice Wong, NP