Sensitive but skeptical, a narrative for practitioners and patients alike about the search to understand a corner of the...

READ REVIEW

Near Death In The ICU

STORIES FROM PATIENTS NEAR DEATH AND WHY WE SHOULD LISTEN TO THEM

A seasoned doctor takes on the head-scratching phenomenon of near-death experiences.

Part gallery of cases, part theory of medicine, debut memoirist Bellg’s look at near-death experiences bridges issues of body and mind. After forgoing a research career, Bellg pursued work as a critical care doctor in an ICU. The often high-stakes scenarios of the ICU brought her into contact with patients close to drawing their last breaths—or who had “died.” Both recollection and commentary, Bellg’s book tracks her patients’ puzzling out-of-body episodes and her attempts to grapple with them. In one startling anecdote, a patient recovering from cardiac arrest described to Bellg not only the details of his surgery, for which he was supposedly unconscious, but the specifics of a nurse training center on the floor above. Another patient recounted how an injection given as part of an imaging procedure sent him on a race through the cosmos. By happenstance, on Bellg’s first day of medical school—when she received a copy of an anthology that dealt with the “more philosophical, relationship-centered” side of medicine—she encountered something of the approach touted in her own book, one that convincingly advocates stronger roles for empathy, patient testimony, and emotional intelligence in institutionalized medical practice. Framing the history of medicine as a prolonged refutation of superstition, she recognizes the obstacles inherent in persuading others to see NDEs as genuine, not just apparent, medical phenomena. Bellg’s responses to these obstacles, though hardly conclusive, are well-considered. She indicates, for instance, the difficulties that would plague any attempt to seriously study NDEs empirically and suggests that observations of NDEs are “simply the beginning of developing a scientific understanding of them.” And she emphasizes the qualitative differences, for her patients, between NDEs and average dreams. Above all, she argues persuasively that patients should be accorded dignity when their stories about these bizarre but often transformative experiences are acknowledged rather than dismissed.

Sensitive but skeptical, a narrative for practitioners and patients alike about the search to understand a corner of the unknown in medicine.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9965103-0-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Sloan Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more