DOCTORS ON THE NEW FRONTIER: Breaking Through the Barriers of Modern Medicine by William Hoffman

DOCTORS ON THE NEW FRONTIER: Breaking Through the Barriers of Modern Medicine

Email this review


Workaday reportage on eight famous medical specialists, the work they do, and (to a lesser extent) the controversies they or their techniques have generated. Featured are: Norman Shumway, heart transplant surgeon and researcher, and--with reference to potential donors--the brain death/heart death dispute (which, perhaps quixotically, slowed the tendency to dramatic but risky experiment); Aerobics proponent Kenneth Cooper and his regimen of physical fitness--with evangelism as the key to good health; Thomas Noguchi, the once-reviled forensic pathologist, and the autopsies he's performed on famous people (he has evidence, says Hoffman, that Sirhan Sirhan didn't kill Robert Kennedy); Nathan Kline's dramatically successful use of drugs in treating mental patients, and his subsequent advocacy of drugs as therapy for just-about-everything; David Baltimore (discoverer of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme of cancer-causing RNA viruses) and his opposition to unbridled recombinant DNA experimentation; Frances Oldham Kelsey, of the FDA, and her stubborn resistance to the licensing of thalidomide; Patrick Steptoe, ""test-tube"" baby Louise Brown, and the activities of right-to-lifers; and Irving Cooper (The Vital Probe, p. 1049), pioneer of cryogenics and brain surgery. Why these particular eight? Hoffman doesn't say. But Kenneth Cooper and Noguchi, though tops at what they do, can hardly be described as ""breaking barriers,"" while Baltimore and Kelsey are more concerned with imposing barriers than breaking them. Overall: an indifferent presentation with little evidence of authorial forethought.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1981
Publisher: Macmillan