Volume 12 Number 1
The Toronto journalist and author, Martin O'Malley, has attempted to "describe and demystify our doctors." By interviewing and observing ten Canadian doctors, the author attempted to present different viewpoints and specialities in medicine. Each had something unusual in his or her career, such as Dr. Joachim Buchenne a radiologist who used his new procedure on the Shah of Iran or Dr. R. Glen Green who has lost his licence due to his practice of holistic medicine or Dr. Paul Henteleff, who deals with the terminally ill. The chapter on Dr. Christina Hill, a female urologist, also deals with the first women doctors in Canada. In addition such issues as malpractice suits, medical ethics, and the exit from our medicare system are also examined. Many of the references to medical cases are extremely recent and have been reported in the news. In the prologue, O'Malley says that doctors are "the most familiar professionals, the most accessible. They bring us into the world, try their best to keep us here, and at the end they help us fight the last fight, but they remain shrouded in mystery and mystification, usually for all the wrong reasons." This book certainly demystified the ten doctors discussed but did not deal with the family G.P. or the many other fields that are still a mystery.
This book is a great departure from The Past and Future Land (an account of the Berger Inquiry, PMA, 1976) but O'Malley makes no claims of having great medical knowledge. As a journalist he has simply reported on the careers and dilemmas of Canadian doctors. Any lay reader can easily understand these portraits and would be fascinated by the people involved. There is little here to support school curriculum, but many would enjoy the presentation.
Ellen Robson, Winston Churchill C. I., Scarborough, ON.
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