It's still very iffy in there today,""--in fact every day on 3H, the ward of a large city hospital where Margaret Striker is the head nurse playing ""endgames with death."" This is a composite portrait both of this young woman and any facility such as this and Barbara Villet, an experienced reporter, works in many of the problems of contemporary medical care much as Michael Crichton did (if to a lesser degree) in Five Patients: particularly the shifts toward mechanical excellence at the expense of the patients, the escalating costs, diminishing services, short staffing, racial frictions, and the direct ratio of fatigue to error. Too many errors, particularly when there's a soulless intern on duty. There's a little about Margaret's personal life--she's nursed for six years. There's much more about the patients that come and go, alive or dead--the old man whose lungs stop, the younger one whose heart goes into an arrest, the cyclic psychotic who turns out to have hepatitis, a diabetic, and endless people who have the ""wrong genes""--particularly Tanya Olsen who comes down with leukemia and knows how it will end. After all, she saw the movie Love Story. An informed, involved book--Barbara Villet has monitored the scene with both care and concern.