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The Realities of Modern Medicine
on May 31, 2011
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.