A TIME TO BE BORN by

A TIME TO BE BORN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dr. Bell is a young doctor, dealing with the youngest people alive even if not for long, and his is that new subspecialty of the newborn which goes by the name neontology. This has always been a world full of hope where the only ""bad baby"" is a very sick one -- like the three attended here with all that complex technological apparatus and around-the-clock care, doubt, guilt. A baby is sometimes saved for what? Disability, hopeless retardation? Like Jeremy Cooper who showed no signs of life even if he wasn't quite dead, then became limp, next ""floppy,"" to barely survive with severe brain incapacitation; or Susan Jenkins, unwanted by her heroin addict mother (""I have no children""); or Phreddie Martin, one pound, eleven ounces at 28 weeks, with the severe breathing deficiency called hyaline membrane disease. And finally, one for reassurance, the perfect baby who is born at home on a farm. . . . Dr. Bell is only too aware of his own justified ambivalence and he raises without answering the ultimate question: when should a doctor ""help God out a little?"" He's written an affirmative book, filled with faith not dogma, an open-ended awareness of what should be done and sometimes left undone, and a very genuine feeling for those entrusted to him. So pick it up, spank it, read it.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1974
Publisher: Morrow