HOSPITAL: Private Lives of a Medical Center Staff by Michael Medved
Kirkus Star

HOSPITAL: Private Lives of a Medical Center Staff

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Somehow, Medved (What Really Happened to the Class of '65?) convinced 30-odd hospital workers, from physicians to custodians, to talk with extraordinary openness about themselves and each other--and the result is a bonanza for those who can't get enough of the medical world. Hospitals are tight little islands, the informants make clear, where almost nothing goes on that everyone doesn't know about. These are colorful, not necessarily attractive personalities. ""The Escape Artist,"" a radiologist, plans a round-the-world sailing trip to escape the depression and anxiety of medicine: ""I'm getting out before I go crazy, before I get sloppy."" But, says a colleague: ""He's not up there on what I would call a level of super competence. In addition to which I don't think he gives a flying fuck about medicine."" That colleague, the Director of Emergency Medicine, gets his later as ""Mr. Macho."" He's ""consumed with himself,"" according to a staff nurse; ""a shitkicker if he has to be,"" says a technician. In his own eyes? ""Much different from your average physician."" (""I drive a pickup truck. I don't attend faggot parties. I don't use drugs."") His ex-wife, a pediatrician, pronounces him ""an outstanding physician."" (He thinks she's ""in love with the idea of being a doctor"" and making money.) And so on, round and round the nursing, medical, technical, and custodial staffs. (From one of the last: ""I'm not medically inclined but I know when they're doing something wrong."") Medved, eschewing comment or description, has simply let these people talk--and arranged their stories into a telling comment on the people who do this kind of work, and what it does to them. Intriguing even for those who don't like the scene, while aficionados can wallow in it.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1982
Publisher: Simon & Schuster