Tabloid title notwithstanding, this is a grim record: a well-documented collection of horror stories, mistakes, fumblings, outright negligence, and criminality from the annals of medicine. The authors' conclusions are too wide-ranging and generalized, but the overall message readers should glean for themselves: health care in this country is a business, run by human beings with ordinary human priorities (not saints or philanthropists); and we would all be wise to give up any misconceptions on the subject and approach the selection of our own care and the monitoring of system with a much less trusting, more businesslike eye. Inlander, Weiner and Levin have grouped their accounts into such categories as ""Sick and Tired,"" on substance-abusing physicians (and how hard it is--impossible--to run them out of business); ""Sleep of the Dead,"" on disasters involving anesthesia; and ""Cut and Run"" on surgery. The authors don't mince words: ""As long as disclosure laws do not exist, as long as mortality and morbidity statistics are not made readily available or available at all to the public, and as long as the medical profession covers up for itself, despite review committees designated to weed out the bad practitioners, surgery will be a crap shoot for the person who needs it or thinks he needs it."" The authors can be overly strident, and some of their ""Prescriptions for Change"" aren't helpful (they recommend ""self-examination by the press to improve its job in identifying and covering stories of medical import""). However, the material collected here can stand alone without editorial comment as a strong warning to readers to educate themselves, shop selectively, and never become passive recipients of medical care.