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Claire McCarthy, graduate from Harvard Medical School, did her residency at Boston s Children's Hospital and is a pediatrician at the Martha Eliot Health Center in Jamaica Plain (Boston). During her medical training, she kept journals, which provide the basis of her book Learning How the Heart Beats: The Making of a Pediatrician (1995) and Everyone's Children: A Pediatrician's Story of an Inner-City Practice. Writer and physician Richard Selzer (see chapter 8) has praised her work. McCarthy has also written for the Boston Globe Magazine. The essay in the text is a chapter from Learning How the Heart Beats, and McCarthy recalls her conflict about attending an optional lab lesson in which students studied the cardiovascular system of a sedated living dog, which then is euthanized.