Monday, January 5, 2009

Medical Narrative II

"Trauma Junkie - Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse" by Janice Hudson. A Firefly Book $15.95 250 pages

Working in the San Francisco Bay area, Hudson left a full-time job in ER to work for California Shock/Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR) and part-time in the ER. It was the helicopter angle that interested me.

When the emergency helicopter is needed, the pilot tells the dispatcher their estimated air time to the event and they go. On arrival, they have a ground contact (fireman, cop) who tells them where they can land safely (away from wires and other obstructions.) Once they do, they go to the patient. If it's a "hot" pick up, they leave the rotor blades turning and the pilot stays with the helicopter. The nurse then gets on the radio to the hospital to which they are transporting the patient and advises them of the patient's condition, what they're doing to treat him/her and when they'll land.

It was an interesting read and the material was well-presented with explanations of "why" as well as "what" they do.

"Bedside Manners - One Doctor's Reflections on the Oddly Intimate Encounters Between Patient and Healer" by David Watts, MD Three Rivers Press $14.00 281 (largely worthless) pages

Watt is a physician, NPR commentator and a poet. If that isn't enough to scare you away, he writes conversations with no quotation marks at all. As a literary "style" it totally sucks and is major laziness or a literary conceit at its worst. I'm surprised his editors (if, in fact, any) let the book go through like that.

Watts is quite full of himself and prides himself on his "thoughtful" examinations (navel-gazing expeditions) of patients -- not only their illness, but motivations, personalities. Which incidentally provides nothing of medical help. Blathering about a woman's fear of exams (while she's resisting one) is a real time killer.

I could never recommend this book; the best I can do is advise you, 'Save yourself $14 and don't buy it.' The title alone should have sent me scampering away "Oddly Intimate Encounters"? Mea culpa -- don't let it be yours.

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