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Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 610.695 REI 1:NEW-BKNF2
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Summary

Summary

An epic story told by a unique voice in Ameri-can medicine, One Doctor describes life-changing experiences in the career of a distinguished physi-cian. In riveting first-person prose, Dr. Brendan Reilly takes us to the front lines of medicine today. Whipsawed by daily crises and frustra-tions, Reilly must deal with several daunting challenges simultaneously: the extraordinary patients under his care on the teeming wards of a renowned teaching hospital; the life-threatening illnesses of both of his ninety-year-old parents; and the tragic memory of a cold case from long ago that haunts him still. As Reilly's patients and their families survive close calls, struggle with heartrending decisions, and confront the limits of medicine's power to cure, One Doctor lays bare a fragmented, depersonal-ized, business-driven health-care system where real caring is hard to find. Every day, Reilly sees patients who fall through the cracks and suffer harm because they lack one doctor who knows them well and relentlessly advocates for their best interests. Filled with fascinating characters in New York City and rural New England-people with dark secrets, mysterious illnesses, impos-sible dreams, and many kinds of courage-One Doctor tells their stories with sensitivity and empathy, reminding us of professional values once held dear by all physicians. But medicine has changed enormously during Reilly's career, for both better and worse, and One Doctor is a cautionary tale about those changes. It is also a hopeful, inspiring account of medicine's poten-tial to improve people's lives, Reilly's quest to understand the "truth" about doctoring, and a moving testament to the difference one doctor can make.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Reilly's medical narrative nicely intertwines true stories of challenging patients ­difficult diagnoses, tough medical and ethical decisions, and the management of critically ill people with valuable lessons on doctoring and patienthood. A fever of unknown origin, profound thyroid deficiency, severe hypoglycemia, chest pain, delirium, bleeding bladder cancer, and life-threatening infection of a heart valve are some of the medical problems encountered. Reilly, a hospital physician with 40 years of experience, also recounts caring for his elderly parents. He writes about the importance of grunt work in medicine, sustained doctor-patient relationships, and clinical instinct. The doctor confesses, Over the years I've learned to listen to my gut, but that doesn't mean I can trust it. Indeed, medical decision making can be hard and hazardous. Risk and probability always factor into it. A medical problem can be handled in multiple ways, but outcomes are never guaranteed. Benefit and harm are both possibilities. Reilly admits that physicians know lots about regret but rarely discuss it. Empathy and thoughtfulness One Doctor has oodles of it.--Miksanek, Tony Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

He was chair of medicine at Chicago's Cook County Hospital, on which the hit TV show ER was based, and Reilly-now at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center-matches the heart-pounding pace and drama of that fictional show in this remarkable memoir. Reilly painstakingly relates his most challenging cases, beginning in the present-when he sees 19 ER patients on an average day-before backtracking to his early career at Dartmouth in 1985. That year, Reilly struggled to identify the cause of an eccentric and lovable patient's delirium. By the time he figured it out, the patient-Fred-had died. "[H]ealth providers still feel guilty when things go wrong," Reilly notes of that troubling cold case, but he insists it made him a better doctor. After all, harm is inherent in the pathway to healing: "in a brave new post-Hippocratic world, medicine's venerable first principle had become an empty shibboleth.... First, do no harm?... If we didn't do harm, we couldn't do good." It's a sobering reminder that though medicine is a science, it is not an exact one. Fast-forwarding to today, Reilly describes another wrenching struggle: making end-of-life decisions with his own elderly mother. But his book is about more than the joy of saving lives and the sadness of losing them-it's an intimate exploration of modern medicine and the human condition. Agent: Janis A. Donnaud, Janis A. Donnaud and Associates. (Sept. 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Part I Now
Prologuep. 3
1 Lost and Foundp. 9
2 Caught in the Middlep. 37
3 A Safe Betp. 64
4 What's the Plan?p. 92
Part II Then
5 An Endp. 135
6 The Postman Rings Twicep. 174
7 Lost Marblesp. 215
Part III Now
8 Never Say Neverp. 257
9 To the Limitp. 298
10 Go Gentlep. 333
Epiloguep. 367
Notesp. 371
Acknowledgmentsp. 427
Indexp. 429

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