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The Color of Atmosphere

One Doctor's Journey in and out of Medicine

If the medical profession you'd devoted your life to was completely taken over by liability concerns and insurance regulations, would you stay a physician?

The Color of Atmosphere tells one doctor's story and the route of her medical career with warmth, humor, and above all, honesty. As we follow Maggie Kozel from her idealistic days as a devoted young pediatrician, through her Navy experience with universal health coverage, and on into the world of private practice, we see not only her reverence for medical science, and her compassion for her patients, but also the widening gap between what she was trained to do and what is eventually expected of her.

Her personal story plays out against the backdrop of our changing health-care system, and demonstrates the way our method of paying for health care has reached its way into the exam room, putting a stranglehold on how doctors practice, and profoundly influencing the doctor-patient relationship. The stories she shares illustrate the medical, economic, and moral complexities of US health care. To understand Dr. Kozel's ultimate decision to leave medicine is to better comprehend the disconnect between our considerable medical resources and how our health-care system falls short of delivering them.


"A rare, intimate portrayal of one pediatrician's journey to become a doctor and her heart-wrenching decision years later to eventually leave medicine. Told with candor and wit, Maggie Kozel's memoir is a powerful reminder of the complex forces that shape medical practice today."--Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, President, American Medical Women's Association, and Editor, This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine

"Dr. Kozel captures perfectly the malaise that has struck American medicine in general and primary care in particular. The chronicle of this intelligent and committed physician-who is frustrated at every turn as she tries to find satisfaction in a profession to which she had expected to dedicate her life-is a powerful indictment of our current system of medical care. We should have done better by her."--Beach Conger, MD, physician and author, Bag Balm and Duct Tape: Tales of a Vermont Doctor


Maggie Kozel

Maggie Kozel

Dr. Maggie Kozel graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine and went on to specialize and practice in pediatrics. Dr. Kozel left practice after seventeen years and is currently teaching high school chemistry in the Providence area. She lives in Jamestown, RI, with her husband and daughters.


Articles on
New York Times Articles
Maggie Kozel's Facebook Page
Articles on


Maggie Kozel: The Color of Atmosphere

Maggie Kozel: The Color of Atmosphere (extended version)

The Color of Atmosphere

Pages:288 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603582971
Pub. Date January 29, 2011
eBook: 9781603583268
Pub. Date January 29, 2011

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 288 pages, $17.95

eBook, 288 pages, $17.95