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Declarations of a Dinosaur: 10 Laws I've Learned as a Family Doctor Hardcover – August 4, 2009
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
About the Author
Lucy E. Hornstein, MD has been a solo family physician in the Philadelphia suburbs for 18 years. She was born and raised in Washington DC (which has left her with a deep and abiding apathy for all things political) and attended college outside Boston before coming to medical school in Philadelphia, which, she has discovered, is a black hole. (No one born here ever leaves; no one who moves here ever leaves.) She has been blogging since August 2006 when she assumed the persona of ""#1 Dinosaur,"" a nod to the impending extinction of primary care.
Top customer reviews
This book covers everything, from tales of experience, side-splitting humor, and time-honored wisdom that only a practicing physician could deliver! It describes the human body and it's functions in a way I've never seen before, so while you're reading hilarious stories or touching memories, you get some kind of cool biology lesson with each bite.
Two notes of warning: There's a good deal of cursing in this book, as well as references to alcohol (non-medical reference is the kind I'm talking about, of course!), so I'd certainly put it up with a high PG-13/R rating, if it were a movie. I don't feel that the expletives were called for or helped the story to move along, but since the 15 and under crowd probably won't be reading this, anyways, it's probably a trivial note.
The second note should be well-heeded by readers of all ages, though. Don't buy this book if you're not interested in medicine and you have a weak stomach. Dr. Lucy does a beautifully tactful job of keeping things professional and upbeat, but as a lover of all-things-medicine, I know that what we can take in excess, many cannot take in moderation, so those who get queezy at the mention of blood, this certainly isn't for you!
Even with the above notes, I'd still say this is one of the best books I've purchased on Amazon.com, and I'm a total reading junkie!
This book is a wonderful expression of the practice and world of medicine, and Dr. Lucy makes a day in the life of a physician so real and tangible that you'll want to hug her at the end of the book...and perhaps consider becoming a medically prehistoric thing of beauty, too.
Thanks for the great read!
Unfortunately, her message was delivered, in my opinion, in a very annoying manner. For starters, there was the introduction, in which the author paints herself as a precocious child and unusually empathetic adult (which she may well be, but would a little humility kill you?), all delivered from an cliched 3rd person point of view. She also has an ongoing Marcus Welby theme--she seems to mention him about every other page. Apparently Dr. Welby is some kind of fictional character from a TV show. I'd never heard of him before reading this book and I bet most younger adults haven't either, so I found the constant references to him tedious and pointless. I was also annoyed by the presentation of apocryphal stories as if they really happened to the author. A plumber charged you $5 for turning a valve and $195 for knowing which to turn? Yeah, right. Give me a break.
Finally, I felt that the book was a little too dumbed-down and patronizing. Some of the descriptions of medical technology are oversimplified to the point of losing accuracy; her description of how MRI works, for example, is incorrect. There are better books out there that expose what's wrong with the current medical paradigm (Overdiagnosed by Welch, Schwartz and Woloshin is a much better pick). If all you want is an overview of how doctors go about their business, I would recommend How Doctors Think, by Groopman. Either of these books is better written and more informative than Declarations of a Dinosaur. You might also be interested in Unhinged by Carlat(about the corporate influence on medicine, particularly in psychiatry) or the more general treatment Overdosed America by Abramson, both of which are written for laymen but not dumbed-down or patronizing.
This is one of those cases where the blog is better than the book.