Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A LAYMAN'S GUIDE TO MODERN MEDICINE by

A LAYMAN'S GUIDE TO MODERN MEDICINE

By

Pub Date: June 1st, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This is a medical text diluted for the public, to be read with a dictionary close at hand; no guidance on health or self-care is offered here. The author--TV's ""Daniel Foster, M.D.""--keeps a generally conservative, clinical tone as he discusses the achievements and problems of modern medicine (biggest problems: depersonalization, physician-specialization, false public expectations); the ""principal manifestations of disease"" (pain, weight-change, fever, etc.); genetics; and diseases of each organ system. Ordinary readers will find this rough going, even when Foster includes an explanation (""The karotype in Klinefelter's syndrome is usually 47,XXY; that is, the patients have an extra X chromosome which appears to diminish the masculinizing efficiency of the Y [male] chromosome""). Some of his explanations, moreover, are fairly cold-blooded: "". . . ureters (unfortunately) are sometimes tied off accidentally during pelvic surgery such as hysterectomy or tubal ligation."" A very brief section at the end of the book somewhat more sympathetically discusses the anxieties of someone facing serious illness and death--fear of the unknown, of suffering, of incapacitation, of dying itself, and of futilely prolonging life. But all of this is addressed to the impartial observer, not the participant; and because the sections on specific problems are usually too brief to serve as references, this is hard to classify as anything other than reading for general interest.