With an unsparing eye for all the details, Kevin Hazzard takes readers on a chaotic ride through a city’s crack houses and road carnage, a hospital’s turbulent mental health ward and still-smoldering scenes of domestic violence.
Best-selling journalist Alexandra Robbins has gone undercover again, exploring the world of The Nurses: A Year with the Heroes Behind the Hospital Curtain. While investigating a profession she calls a vital and grossly undervalued "secret club," she has unearthed a multitude of no-holds-barred truths and anecdotes revealed in interviews with nurses across the country.
With 3.5 million nurses in the United States, they are the country’s largest group of healthcare providers. So it’s not surprising that after investigating sororities, geeks, overachievers and more, award-winning journalist Alexandra Robbins has turned her attention to The Nurses.
“I’m of two minds,” we say. Or, “I changed my mind.” These phrases roll casually off the tongue, but we don’t mean them literally. Maybe we should, according to two new books that explore the fascinating history and tantalizing future of neuroscience.
What makes Rob Dunn’s narrative history of advances in heart research so fascinating is on vivid display in the opening chapter of The Man Who Touched His Own Heart. Here Dunn tells the story of a Chicago surgeon who performed the first-known repair to the pericardium, the protective sac around the heart. The year was 1893, and Chicago was abuzz over the World’s Fair. The patient, a railroad worker, had been stabbed in a knife fight at a local bar. The surgeon, a talented, ambitious African-American man, had been forced by racial prejudice to found his own poorly funded hospital, serving Chicago’s lower class. At a time when a knife to the heart was almost always fatal, the revolutionary procedure was delicate and complex because there was no technology to sustain the heart while a surgeon worked on it. To everyone’s amazement, the procedure succeeded.
In 1985, Alice Hobson, 77, lived independently, still mowing her own yard, fixing her own plumbing and driving her big Chevrolet Impala, often delivering meals-on-wheels to others. Seven years later, at age 84, Hobson still lived on her own, doing her shopping, going to the gym and taking care of her house. Later that year, though, she fell several times and began to experience mental lapses. Her children then faced an increasingly common dilemma: to move Hobson to a facility that could take care of her physical needs but rob her of her autonomy, or allow her to live on her own, or with them, where she would retain autonomy but face physical challenges.
While there’s something fascinating about old medical equipment and collections of oddities, it’s harder to truly appreciate the reality of life before modern surgery, let alone the ostracism and pain faced by individuals who suffered from conditions routinely corrected today. In this compelling biography of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter (1811-1850), Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz brings a poet’s sensibilities to the life of an American surgeon who was at the forefront of advances in medical education and reconstructive surgery.
Author Katy Butler describes Knocking on Heaven’s Door as “part memoir, part medical history, and part investigative journalism.” She is absolutely right, and this carefully arranged braid of a book is stronger and more appealing than any single strand would be alone. Yet at bottom, it’s a deeply personal story.Butler writes heartrendingly about the death of her father,...
Although some medical statistics point out that one in 88 people has some form of autism, the diagnosis is still very little understood. Is it a psychological condition? Is it biological? Are children born autistic, or does their environment contribute to, and perhaps cause, their autism?In this brilliant book that is part memoir and part scientific study, best-selling author Temple Grandin,...
She thought she had mono. Then she decided she was bipolar. To her disgust, a famed New York City neurologist told her that she simply worked too hard and drank too much.Susannah Cahalan’s mix of Google-search self-diagnosis and hit-and-miss expert opinion might have been comical if her situation hadn’t been so dire. At the age of...