ONE MAN'S MEDICINE by Charles Harris


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One Man's Medicine is strong stuff to take -- not the usual novitiate account although that's there too -- but a rough, often funny, blunt book full of materia morbida and also full of some of the issues and values which are at stake -- not in the making of a doctor or a surgeon but a physician -- a distinction you will have learned by the end of the book. This is a journal of sorts (names have obviously been changed of both people and facilities) in parts taking place some time in the '40's and beginning in a city hospital called The County with an overcrowded patient load and one Medical Director, Dr. Simon Quentin Lapius, who is the guiding presence of this book. Here the author or ""Harry"" goes through obstetrics and the running sore that is gynecology, the medical wards with their ""ministry of the dying,"" the morgue where ""death is the textbook, pathology the great medical teacher."" He then goes into cancer research to realize just how spiteful and proprietary is this world with its infighting between the public foundation man and the private researcher. On to a Community Health Center in a destitute urban neighborhood and this last phase coincides with Lapius' slow death of Parkinson's (too soon for L-DOPA, too late for anything else) as lacerating an experience as you will read anywhere. Lapius, in the fetor of his failing functions, does not go gently, even if by the end he will have triumphed over this book. . . . Harris writes loosely, without rubber gloves -- in so doing he manages to convey much more than just the facts of life or death with an unconfined humanity, close to the heart and the gut.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1975
ISBN: 1412094267
Publisher: Harper & Row