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Extreme Remedies is just what the doctor ordered in terms of a stringently exciting book about medicine today, it also makes Drs. Welby and Kiley look like The Hardy Boys before they passed their cub scout first aid test. The scene here is the neurological ward of a California city hospital (Dr. Hejinian knows it very well -- it's a little like Wambaugh's police novels without the schmaltz) where there are strokes, alcoholics, multiple sclerotics, tumors -- mostly tumors. Joe Womack -- neurologist -- and he's as sharp as one of those stylets -- tries to deal with one patient or another who is about ready to depart and to solve some of the human-ethical issues involved. Should they promote the quick exit or perhaps try one of those new drugs (untested) which might add a day or a month to a hopeless life'? Should he permit the removal of the kidneys of Billy Liggons who's not really legally dead (two tumors in his head the size of golf balls) to save the life of a doctor's wife who could use those kidneys'? Drastic experimental hopes? Gratuitous last licks? So it goes -- and Hejinian's documentary novel has much of the tension and immobilizing impact of say Glasser's Ward 408 -- you'll be right there.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1974
Publisher: St. Martin's Press