Accessible and often amusing medical anecdotes.

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN

A PEEK AT LIFE FROM WITHIN THE ER

Drawing on over 20 years of experience in emergency medicine, debut author Sterling presents alternately humorous and sobering stories of the “controlled chaos” of a hospital emergency room.

In these wry, short essays, the author strikes an appropriate balance between serious warnings and diverting stories. In one, he tells of a nurse who was murdered in the office below his, proving that a hospital can be a risky environment; in others, though, he provides plenty of laughs. Many pieces tread a fine line between being comical and raunchy; for example, the author writes of finding a potato up a patient’s anus and of treating a four-hour erection. He uses a mix of the past and present tense to re-create the immediacy of climactic moments. Snappy conversations—such as one that he has with macho young men who assume that they’re invincible against sexually transmitted diseases—reflect his no-nonsense attitude toward patient responsibility: “It’s my job to treat, not to judge, but sometimes it’s very difficult,” Sterling admits. Too many cases, he notes, result from reckless behavior involving overeating, alcohol, drugs, or careless driving. For instance, he describes one drag-racing fatality with three inches shaved off his skull and a man who drank window-washing fluid and suffered permanent visual damage. Even the most tragic, cautionary tales can still hold a grain of hope, though. In one of the strongest anecdotes, “Extracting Life from Death,” he writes of a woman, nine months pregnant, who got into a high-speed crash while not wearing a seatbelt. She was dead on arrival at the hospital, but Sterling delivered her baby girl alive. The book proves to be as informative as it is entertaining, thanks to its reader-friendly tactics: unfamiliar terms appear in italics, connections are made between similar cases, and bullet-pointed lists detail procedures and treatment options. Taken together, they’ll provide laymen with a way through what Sterling calls the “never-ending alphabet soup of protocols.” A gripping step-by-step narration of a cricothyrotomy (which involves making an incision in the throat to create an airway) is a highlight: “Gain control of the windpipe with one hand. Let’s go. Stab incision with only the tip of the scalpel.” Two messages come through clearly in this collection: knowledge is power, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Accessible and often amusing medical anecdotes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1612548524

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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