A Doctor’s Dilemma: Read This Book by Dale Coy, M.D.

Last Saturday afternoon I read Morton’s Fork: A Doctor’s Dilemma by Dale Coy, M.D. (Morton’s Fork is a logical dilemma in which people are faced with two equally bad options.) It took about four hours to read. I tore through it despite the fact that it was at times painful to read. That should tell you how much I enjoyed it. I left the experience feeling as though anyone working in healthcare or the field of medicine should read this book. If you work in healthcare marketing, healthcare administration, physician relations, physician recruitment or as a clinician, this truly is a must read. And I hate it when people say something is a “must read.” But this work by Dr. Coy truly fits the bill. I guarantee that you are already aware of the economic realities and pressures facing physicians today and the battle over tort reform. So those won’t be new to you. But the way Dr. Coy tells the story of his main character, Dr. Hartley, you may develop a new appreciation for how those factors come to play in the life of the physician. My guess is that this is as much Dr. Coy’s story as it is Dr. Hartley’s.

I learned of the book when its author, Dale Coy, M.D., contacted me via Twitter (@dalecoymd). Dr. Coy studied medicine at The Ohio State University, receiving a commencement award for outstanding performance in Internal Medicine. He trained at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, specializing in Gastroenterology. He worked at Rush Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital in Chicago before going into private practice.

Morton’s Fork is a work of fiction (medical thriller) that reads like a parable with a definite lesson in mind. The lesson here is the plight of today’s physician, particularly those still in private practice. Something about the book reminded me of James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy. Coy takes us on  a journey where all of the main characters undergo some sort of transformation. Through Dr. Hartley’s journey, we are forced (uncomfortably) to confront the many issues that are dramatically impacting the lives of physicians: healthcare reform, technology, medical malpractice, patient expectations of immediacy, litigious patients and family members, lower reimbursements, larger numbers of uninsured patients, and more.

This is a great read but an even greater source of insights into the life of today’s physician.

To learn more about Morton’s Fork: A Doctor’s Dilemma, visit Dale Coy’s website at You can also order the book by going directly to

3 comments on “A Doctor’s Dilemma: Read This Book by Dale Coy, M.D.

  1. Fiction can be a very effective way to reach a large audience. You’re correct Dan. This is as much my experience as Hartley’s. The experience depicted is one of a whole generation of 50ish year old docs practicing medicine. But the common thread of our generation is we put the needs of our patients before anything else. It hurts me that doctors have become the villains in a landscape controlled by MBA’s. They have made the Hippocratic oath a worthless relic. Thanks for your great review.

  2. Physicians, rise up against the fork!
    Great novel, very timely and inspirational. Love the hero, Dr. Hartley.

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