BREATHE, LITTLE BOY, BREATHE: An Emergency Room Doctor's Story by

BREATHE, LITTLE BOY, BREATHE: An Emergency Room Doctor's Story

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A rotten weekend in the life of an emergency-room doctor--overdramatic, perhaps, but recognizable to anyone who has spent time on the premises. Seager was 29 at the time of this account, a full-time emergency room physician in Phoenix. During the weekend of night shifts chronicled here, he handled a steady stream of cases--ranging from cuts and stomach aches to serious ear accidents--including some of the sort that make emergency-room personnel into a special breed of cynics. A woman who, in the midst of an argument and in front of her husband and children, turned a gun on herself and was paralyzed from the waist down (did she know, Seager wonders, that she could get so seriously and irreparably hurt by aiming at her stomach?); an elderly woman who literally baked her arm in the oven (it had to be amputated); a botched abortion, graphically described. Some are merely curious--an obese woman who complained of stomach ache, then went on to deliver a full-term baby--or aggravating (a man with a concussion who went on asking the same three questions over and over, no matter how many times they were answered). Seager doesn't spare the reader in his descriptions of the patients' ills; neither does he excuse what comes across, occasionally, as immaturity in his dealings with patients. There is, however, one point that he wants to make: the lethal consequences of alcohol and automobiles. So his shock tactics have a point too; what he depicts is, alas, distressingly common.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Prentice-Hall