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Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (Limited Edition): Special Limited Edition Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug 28 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Aug. 28 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385665458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385665452
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #331,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.6 out of 5 stars
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anne Berndl on Jan. 7 2008
Format: Paperback
As an Obstetric Resident, Bloodletting was like speaking to someone who truly felt the intensity of the day- to-day life of a physician. I couldn't put it down, and read the whole thing front to back sitting lopsided in an uncomfortable chair. His story "an insistent tide" stuck a particular cord with me, he did an excellent job of capturing the acuity of a cord prolapse and the emotions that accompany the shift from a normal healthy birth to an emergency situation. My heart was pounding. Well done!
-Dr. Anne Berndl, Author; "So You Want to Be a Doctor, Eh?"
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Richard Upjohn on Nov. 14 2006
Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories has some interesting moments, but the book is highly uneven, with some weak work towards the center that gets a bit better towards the end. This collection is not for readers who seek a memorable literary experience. The work is more akin to a reality TV show, and relies heavily on the drama that medicine affords gratis instead of literary virtuosity or masterful story telling.
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By kkmercurie on Feb. 13 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great characters with surprising lives. I love how all of the stories contain at least one of or favourite doctors, and that the point of view changes frequently from first to third. Interesting and vivid stories.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. NH on Jan. 11 2007
Format: Paperback
As a medical student myself, I did not find this collection of short stories to be that powerful, captivating nor truly interesting. It was a quick read, but the characters weren't memorable. The stories are life-like, but seeing as I live this everyday, didn't find the stories too entertaining.

For medical stories, I preferred Complications by Atul Gawande. Despite Complications' documentary style, it was informative, funny and enlightening.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By G. Thomas on Nov. 18 2006
Format: Paperback
This review is based on the first hundred pages or so (the first four stories), since I felt that was an appropriate amount of time spent waiting to be captivated, impressed, compelled to continue reading. Sadly I was not.

Reading this book has helped me to define the saying "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story". To explain: it is obvious that Lam has taken stories or anecdotes directly from what he has seen or heard in the medical field. With this I have no problem. But I can see where his desire to inform impedes on the story. To speak musically, the leitmotif of his Take All of Murphy is the scene where the characters suffer the moral dilemma of either satisfying medical procedure and cutting through the symbol (tattoo) of a man's life, or harmlessly slicing around it. An excellent idea (in fact it was someone's summary of that idea which moved me to pick up the book in the first place). Every little inflection and melody of the story should revolve around this moment. But Lam creates great discord by straying from the truth and trailing off into exposition. All of the italicised parts of this story (where we are shown snippets of past interviews and such) should have been cut. There is an overall sense of weakness in the prose. A lightness. There is no, shall I say, muscle to it.

This critique serves well for the first four stories I read. Some had good ideas (for this Lam earns a star), but they were drawn out, lost somewhere in mediocre craft, poor pacing, and a missing sense for mood.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Catalano on June 15 2007
Format: Paperback
The author's style is stilted and clinical. The characters leave you with a faint taste of metal in your mouth or a squint as if you are looking at them from a distance. Somehow it all works. One shouldn't expect a book about a clinically detached scientific profession to read the same as One L for example. Different profession, different feel. If it were more empathetically written I'm not sure it would ring as true. If you are looking for the literary equivalent of a fast paced episode of ER or a soapy drama like Grey's Anatomy I suggest that you will want to look elsewhere though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 31 2011
Format: Paperback
For those who don't like the short-story format, this is not the book for you. While there is no big deciding moment that unifies all these unique personal experiences of young doctors in the field, Lam manages to convey a very real sense of humanity in his characters as they struggle to understand the demands of their very challenging profession. These are professionals who are forced to make decisions that are not always convenient or textbook in nature, while trying to meet the needs of their patients. I found this collection of literary vignettes on life in a modern hospital to be a fascinating read because they tell it as it is: not glamorous, downright disgusting, very stressful, and not always successful or popular. The benefit of having these tales presented in a short-story format is that the reader has a chance to select ones he or she can relate to: the first two dealing with life in medical school were especially appealing to me because I have always wondered what some of my friends have had to go through in order to become doctors, especially with so many personal issues crowding their lives. The story of how a young ER doctor deals with the emerging needs of a mentally disturbed patient is both humorous and enlightening. Overall, "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" appears to be an honest treatment of a very complex subject that can't be covered in some superficial novel-style like a Robin Cook medical thriller, because it is anything but. Being a medical doctor in Canada means being open to a maelstrom of unpredictable and quite often ordianaryy circumstances. Lam has the talent to present the mundane in such a way as to strike the reader as being crucial to the bigger picture.
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