by Steven Merahn ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 10, 2021
An intensive, mindful critique of modern health care that confronts its flaws and proposes solutions.
Awards & Accolades
A report on the complex social and economic issues that are hindering significant patient health care reforms.
Physician and former chief medical officer for Centria Healthcare Merahn’s collection of insightful essays focuses on his view that improvements to health care networks should be a “social imperative” in order to sustain educational and economic progress and avoid systemic inequities. The source of Merahn’s frustration stems from inaction from decision-makers and medical professionals to embrace patient-focused methods of care delivery. He sees health care as a critical necessity—one that’s battered by the forces of economic instability, racial injustice, unconscious bias, politics, and free market capitalist dynamics. Merahn’s research discovered many health care professionals who felt disconnected from their peers and lacking strategies to repair the devaluation of their occupation. The author takes a broad view of his subject, astutely examining the history of American health care and how it’s been incrementally destabilized by “those with less selfless and less generous agendas”; he also addresses how it’s been defined by revenue economics rather than by a philosophy of delivering quality communitywide care. The author writes that although the Covid-19 pandemic has successfully and swiftly mobilized crisis teams across the globe and, in most cases, amply supplied them with the resources they need, it’s also exposed a glaring lack of equitable access to care due in part to systemic racism. He notes that the crisis has also alarmingly revealed a distinct population with “deficient scientific literacy.”
Driven by what he perceives to be glaring systemic inadequacies, Merahn intelligently outlines an evolutionary plan that includes fundamental improvements in clinicians’ financial stability, an organizational restructuring of the care delivery system, and a revised vision of the kind of coverage and support that the American system should be providing. The author leaves little room for doubt that quality health care is urgently needed by everyone and that the system’s goals have, over time, become derailed by the desire for profit and are in need of a remedy that isn’t solely based on “how we pay for care" and is "more about how we plan for care.” Merahn advocates for increased human connection and noncategorical approaches to illness that, in his view, would “transcend diagnoses and acknowledge the power of emotion in influencing interactions in relationships.” Improved attention to patient dignity, integrity, and privacy are also key to this restructuring, he notes. The major thrust of his argument is based on the belief that health care should be free of doubt and confusion; because it’s become mired in these states, there needs to be a redesign and focused return to a “whole-person” frame of mind. Although the author’s medical industry rhetoric and densely rationalized arguments may sometimes be difficult for readers outside of clinical settings to grasp, his impassioned demands for change are unwaveringly convincing. Merahn’s persuasive call for action advocates for no less than an overhaul—one that redirects attention away from “networks of self-interest embedded throughout the healthcare ecosystem.”An intensive, mindful critique of modern health care that confronts its flaws and proposes solutions.
Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2021
Page Count: 149
Publisher: Conversation Publishing
Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Cassidy Hutchinson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
An insider’s account of the rampant misconduct within the Trump administration, including the tumult surrounding the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.
Hutchinson, who served as an assistant to Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, gained national prominence when she testified to the House Select Committee, providing possibly the most damaging portrait of Trump’s erratic behavior to date. In her hotly anticipated memoir, the author traces the challenges and triumphs of her upbringing in New Jersey and the work (including a stint as an intern with Sen. Ted Cruz) that led her to coveted White House internships and eventual positions in the Office of Legislative Affairs and with Meadows. While the book offers few big reveals beyond her testimony (many details leaked before publication), her behind-the-scenes account of the chaotic Trump administration is intermittently insightful. Her initial portrait of Trump is less critical than those written by other former staffers, as the author gauges how his actions were seemingly stirred more by vanity and fear of appearing weak, rather than pure malevolency. For example, she recalls how he attended an event without a mask because he didn’t want to smear his face bronzer. Hutchinson also provides fairly nuanced portraits of Meadows and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who, along with Trump, eventually turned against her. She shares far more negative assessments about others in Trump’s orbit, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and adviser Rudy Giuliani, recounting how Giuliani groped her backstage during Trump’s Jan. 6 speech. The narrative lags after the author leaves the White House, but the story intensifies as she’s faced with subpoenas to testify and is forced to undergo deep soul-searching before choosing to sever ties with Trump and provide the incriminating information that could help take him down.A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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SEEN & HEARD
by Paul Kalanithi ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 19, 2016
A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2016
New York Times Bestseller
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.
Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.
Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016
Page Count: 248
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015
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