Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Review - One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine by Brendan Reilly, MD

Medical reform is a very heated political topic currently, and I was a little nervous about reading this book afraid the author would use it to push his political agenda. Happily it is a fairly honest autobiography with the doctor expressing how he truly feels from years of experience.

One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine by Brendan Reilly, MD is a nonfiction autobiography and history of medicine during the latter 20th Century with commentary about problems with and short comings of the medical systemIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and one of those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good

Writing. The book is well written. It's clear the author is a doctor and not a writer, but it doesn't detract form the enjoyment or the understanding of the stories and messages.

Stories. The author shares a lot of interesting stories from a variety of situations. There is a wide variety, and any similar stories are shared to contrast and compare with others to help the reader understand the challenge of practicing medicine.

Honesty. I appreciate how honest the author is about both successes and failures. He recognizes the good modern medicine can do, but also recognizes the limits and the dark areas of the unknown. He cites examples of patients being helped and hurt by the medical profession. He doesn't try to push any political agenda or manipulate the reader into taking a particular stance.

The Bad

Uncertainty. The author repeatedly discusses how a lot of questions in medicine aren't questions for science or medicine but philosophy and religion, and he never seems to have any answers or insights. I'm not sure if he has no strong personal convictions, no religious beliefs, or he's trying to stay neutral in the moral area, but it makes him come off as weak and ill equipped to answer essential questions.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish the doctor had shared more of his moral convictions and how they influenced the decisions he made and the actions he took. It would have made the book less wishy washy and unsure.


One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine by Brendan Reilly, MD tells the story of a doctor during the latter 20th Century and early 21st Century at various types of medical institutions and in various roles. He shares the good and bad medical professionals do and discusses problems and limitations with the medical system as he sees them. It is a very honest and introspective look with his opinions of areas in need of improvement and why. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


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