- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (April 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031242356X
- ISBN-13: 978-0312423568
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,282,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Blood of Strangers: Stories from Emergency Medicine First Edition Edition
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Forget the niceties of plot development and the easy moralizing of the television shows. There's nothing glamorous about a hospital emergency room, that arena where every human flaw and frailty is exposed.
Frank Huyler, a physician and poet, offers a sharp view of life-and-death realities. The emergency room, he writes in these affecting vignettes, is a place where the dominant mood is numbness, where doctors and patients alike have seen too much bloodshed and death. As a defensive reaction, Huyler writes, some doctors become addicted to drugs and other pastimes, while others assume arrogant, cavalier, or aloof airs. This is eminently understandable, and Huyler recounts the growing distance in his relationship with patients as "the earlier intimacy I had felt ... began to recede into the task." A fine storyteller, Huyler doesn't shy away from tales in which he comes up short, just as he shakes his head in bemusement at the ways of administrators and chiefs. In one episode, for instance, he writes of treating a comatose patient with aggressive measures under one attending physician's orders, then doing almost nothing under another's instructions. The patient "was gone from the waking world, as nearly dead as a human being can be, lying at the edge but never quite crossing over"--but, amazingly, he survived both his injuries and the conflict between the two doctors.
Reminiscent of the surgeon-essayist Richard Seltzer's best work, Huyler's memoirs take readers behind the surgical screen. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This haunting, exquisitely observed collection of medical vignettes is much more than a compilation of odd cases from the emergency room. Huyler probes beneath the surface to reveal the marrow of his encounters with patients, such as when, after making a swift diagnosis and saving a life, he later looks in on the patient and pauses to sit "in the dark for a while, watching the red and blue lights of the monitor, savoring him, taking something for myself." Inviting the reader behind the drape, he recounts his personal journey from his first days as a medical student in gross anatomy lab through the harder, lonelier days of his internship and residency before he finally stepped into the coveted role of attending physician, vested with full authority. With a poet's economy, Huyler dismantles the myth of the privileged doctor's life, revealing the long hours and loneliness that are too often requisites for the job. His character studies of the often quirky, sometimes tragic colleagues and patients who pass through the ward are quite poignantAfrom the murderer whose beating heart Huyler holds in his hands during a life-saving surgical procedure to the head of the trauma service who "looked remarkably like Lee Harvey Oswald" and seduced scads of nurses until one very efficiently took her revenge. Though this slim collection ends just as one has settled into it, it marks Huyler as a writer to watch. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of scenes from the emergency room, revealing an aspect of the medicos that a lot of us would rather not know. First year medical students, for example, are assigned a cadaver to mutilate, take apart, to gain first hand knowledge of human anatomy. This the first of numerous hoops that the student of medicine must jump through in their many years of intense training. There is a tacit reason that anatomy is the first course off the rank - it is a test as to whether they have the capacity to objectify the body as mere object, divorce feeling and emotion from the human form itself. Many fail because they lack that 'scientific objectivity' and cannot stomach using a hack saw to open the skull of their subject. It is too close to home. The terrifying aspect of the Blood of Strangers is the objectivity portrayed by Dr. Huyler - he communicates a kind of cold bloodedness coupled with a profound insight and affinity with the human soul.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful writing. A good read for anyone in healthcare. A quick read as well- Finished it in an afternoon on the porch.Published on January 5, 2015 by JJH
If you work in emergency medicine you will love this book. It is a fun quick read anyone in the field can appreciate. Dr. Read morePublished on July 13, 2014 by T. Zumwalt
I am reading this book for the second time. I am enjoying it just as much this time as the first.
Dr. Read more
what more can i say. this is a FANTASTIC work of non-fiction that should rank with all time classics. seriously. and i don't even know the author. though i wish i did. Read morePublished on April 10, 2009 by Michael Ruhlman
Probably the most poetic, most thoughtful "doctor book" I've read. A cut above the others (no pun intended).Published on March 11, 2009 by Juliet J.
In 'Prelude', the second story in this enthralling collection, Frank Huyler describes his first Anatomy Class. Read morePublished on February 28, 2009 by Ryan Williams
The book is short and to the point, telling a series of short stories from medical school, residency and beyond about people the author knew. Read morePublished on January 24, 2009 by Amazon Customer