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The life of a commuting emergency room physician--all gummed up. Cutler helped organize and develop the system whereby emergency medical specialists from physician-glut areas (in this case, California) commute by air to shortage areas--here, an unidentified semi-rural section of the South. By this system, which was instrumental in the establishment of emergency care as a separate medical specialty, physicians in the employ of a private corporation fly to the needy area for a one- or two-week period each month, during which they work long daily shifts in local emergency rooms. Cutler, in fact, eventually moved to his service area. Unfortunately, he and Alston have chosen to organize his story around one night in the emergency room: events occurring over several years come to a screeching halt as time marches on (""6:03 P.M.,"" ""8:47 P.M.,"" ""9.09 P.M."") and each new chapter begins. Players, crises, and the story's thread are lost in the melÉe. There is potential interest here: the cases, Cutler's personal difficulties (divorce, single fatherhood), doctors' derelictions, the emergency-care corporate system. But the convoluted format reduces the whole to a drab muddle.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1984
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich