- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300125585
- ISBN-13: 978-0300125580
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Deadly Dinner Party: and Other Medical Detective Stories 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Mimicking the style of his favorite genre, the detective story, author and doctor Edlow (Bull's Eye: Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease) retells 15 stories of "shoe-leather epidemiology" that delve into the complex world of diagnostic medicine. In the title story, three cases of botulism are traced, with the work of physicians, local health department officials, and CDC representatives, to a jar of oil-packed garlic. Other chapters cover typhoid fever in restaurant orange juice, gastrointestinal infestation via fish tank water, and illnesses caused by excess vitamins A and D. Readers, especially those already alarmed over everyday pathogens, will find plenty to worry about, including herbal teas grandfathered out of FDA regulations; sudden changes in diets that may, literally, plug up your pipes; and all-natural, fresh-pressed cider that may harbor dangerous e. coli. Readers will also find that every medical diagnosis is a puzzle to be solved, often by gathering and analyzing data with the help of a team. Much like a true-life version of television's House M.D., these fast-paced, detail-heavy stories will prove compelling for fans of mystery and medicine.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Anyone with a penchant for the TV show House, or even a general interest in the more puzzling illnesses, will be engaged by the entertaining case studies. Edlow explores the history of disease through individual cases, without too much scientific jargon."--Sunday Mail
(Sunday Mail 2010-02-28)
Top customer reviews
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Following investigators with the Center of Disease Control & Prevention in some cases are called in when multiple similar cases arise which have all the hallmarks of an impending epidemic. Following their steps in trying to identify not only what's actually wrong with the patient that's causing their kidney failure, double vision, months of headaches, bloody bowels, muscle weakness, impending death and accumulating fluid in the abdomen among other alarming problems but also the cause of the problems are really fascinating.
The author also adds information about some historical cases, information about certain bacteria and their effect on the human body, in addition to different medical treatments and procedures. All in all, a very interesting book, even if some of the stories have made me ask our building manager how often their clean out the air vents in the building and rethink buying apple cider from a nearby farm.
In all seriousness, The Deadly Dinner Party is exactly how Berton Roueche would have approached the subjects covered here with the introduction of the patients and their sickness; the doctors who uncovered the medical mystery, the history behind the disease in question; the treatment and aftermath. Pure Roueche at his finest.
I feel that I’m giving Dr Edlow short shift, but I guess I’m not.
This is the bottom line: If you love Berton Roueche you’ll love Jonathan Edlow. It’s as simple as that.
This is a solid 4.9 stars. Why not five? ‘coz only Berton Roueche deserves five for any tales of medical detection.
Although modern technology offers information and support for these modern medical sleuths, very often it is the physician's knowledge of prior medical research and clinical history from decades or centuries past that provides the critical clues allowing the right treatment from modern medicine's arsenal. In many cases the solution is not an esoteric drug or procedure, but something as simple as a change of diet, or a change of process by a third-party such as a food vendor. In each case Edlow gives us an in-depth view of the many researchers and clinicians that pursued obscure and dangerous diseases in times past. To a layman it is fascinating to see how various historic figures pursued their quarry with such energy and diligence, and it is equally fascinating to learn that they documented their work so carefully that it is available to rescue today's medical professionals in modern dilemmas. The author presents current symptoms and prior research in sufficient detail (sometimes approaching the graphics of TV's CSI series) to give the reader a gripping sense of how a patient suffers and what dreadful fate might await him or her. This also provides the reader with great insights not only into clinical practice and medical history, but also into the need for good personal and social hygiene.
Dr. Edlow, in his description of patients, treats each with great tenderness and respect. As an aside, he reminds us in each chapter that the patient's name is fictitious, which I found somewhat tedious, but which is no doubt required by publishers in our litigious society. His description of each patient's humanity also gives us insight into the humanity of their medical providers. The reader can sense the anxiety and concern that doctors have when they can't solve a patient's problem. Even though we all convince ourselves that medical professionals learn to leave problems at work and not bring them home, among Edlow's practitioners that's not the case. For those of us who have been patients, we take great solace in believing that our service providers are thinking about us 24 hours a day. And so it is with Edlow's detectives, professionally trained, blessed with high intellect and typically overachievers (the type whom we probably envied or disliked in high school) who give no quarter and have no rest until their patient is restored to health. Behind the hospital administrator, insurance analyst or Medicare bureaucrat and a large impersonal hospital edifice, Edlow subtly tells us there is a doctor, nurse or lab technician that cares about each patient. If they didn't, the medical mystery would go unsolved and the patient would continue to suffer, and die.
Not only is "The Deadly Dinner Party" entertainment, but it is a convenient way to learn some interesting things about medicine, hygiene and technology. In short it is highly educational. In fact, it should be considered as an educational tool for high school and college health or social science classes. The cases are realistic, and fun. (I was struck by the realism when I discovered that one of the service providers described in a specific case, which I won't mention so that the mystery is not revealed in advance to the reader, is a service provider that I use to this day. I inquired of one of its employees if the case was factual, and learned that indeed it was.) For senior high school and college students Edlow's treatment of these mysteries would provide inspiration for some students to choose a career in medicine, but for all it would provide great insights into modern advances in biology, genetic science and medicine, and the need for conscientious practice of personal, social and industrial hygiene. "The Deadly Dinner Party" is entertaining and stimulating for all, and a great educational tool.