The eminent neurologist and writer, Oliver Sacks, died on Sunday from cancer. He was 82.
He wrote about his and his patients’ stories in a way that appealed not only to the medical world. Sacks helped introduce neurological disorders such as Tourette’s and Asperger’s to a general audience by humanising the conditions through his writing. His memoir, and perhaps most famous work, ‘Awakenings’, was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.
Sacks was a prolific journal-keeper, compiling more than 600 notebooks. In the following video from Sacks’ YouTube channel, he describes how the act of writing (when it’s going well) transports him to another place, free from distraction.
In 1989, interviewing him for “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” Joanna Simon asked Dr. Sacks how he would like to be remembered in 100 years –
“I would like it to be thought that I had listened carefully to what patients and others have told me, that I’ve tried to imagine what it was like for them, and that I tried to convey this.”