Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Doctors' Lounge


I just finished reading The Doctors' Lounge:  Medicine from the Inside. (Brier Hospital) by Lawrence Gold M.D. As a nurse, I am always interested in medical based mysteries.

"Jacob Weizman, the popular character first introduced in the novel, No Cure for Murder, has, after sixty years of exemplary medical practice, suffered a crisis of confidence and has withdrawn from hospital practice. He spends mornings in the Doctors’ Lounge where he becomes a sage, a sounding board, consultant, adviser, and all around mentor for physicians, nurses, and even for hospital administrators.
Through Jacob’s involvement, we observe the realities of medical practice and how it affects practitioners and patients alike."

This book gives a really good, honest look into the day to day professional and private lives of physician's, nurses and other hospital staff and the issues that they face in today's world. Underneath this part of the story, is "a mystery".

Jacob Weizman has been a physician for 60 years. Yes, he is 88. His wife Lola is a psychiatrist. Jacob has recently taken a temporary or unofficial retirement after the death of a young patient. He questions could he have done more, did he miss something, is he not as sharp as he used to be. But he continues to hang out in the Doctors' Lounge provide consultations.

Maury is a colleague of Jacob and Lola. He lost his wife and is very depressed.

Bernie is also a colleague and is showing signs of cognitive impairment. His abilities as a doctor are questioned by the staff.

Harmony Lane is a young doctor who lost her privileges a few years ago after she administered experimental drugs to some patients and some of those patients died. She has been reinstated. Her patient Sy, and his wife beg her to end his suffering from a terminal illness, but she refuses. After his death in the hospital, Harmony is accused of murder. She is now in danger of losing her medical license and possibly going to prison. Was it palliative care? Euthanasia? Murder?

Lisa Logan is brought in after a serious suicide attempt. She is 26 and has a "do not resuscitate" form signed.
Her twin sister says "let her die."  Her mother says "save her." What should her doctor do?

Terri Katz is a young nurse at Brier Hospital. She did two tours in Iraq and settled into civilian life. But she has a feeling someone is watching her. Then the threatening phone calls start. Her car tires are slashed. Who is doing this and why? How far will they go? (This is the mystery part of the story)

This is not "Gray's Anatomy". While that is an entertaining show, that, yes I watch it ..all that stuff didn't go on when I worked in a hospital. While the book is fiction, this story deals with what doctors and nurses really deal with; aging of their patients and themselves, what is their place as they age, terminal illnesses and how to ease suffering and allow people to die with dignity, lawsuits-legitimate or frivolous, what are patients wishes and what is the best thing to do for them, supporting patient's families, colleagues and their families.

I found the writing very good. I think most people don't think of their doctor as being a person like them that has friends, family, feelings of  happiness, sadness, or frustration. After all they have to appear calm, confident and optimistic or what would the patients think? I think this story gives a true depiction of what it is to be a doctor, trying to do the best they can for their patients and how that doesn't always go as they hoped.

Lawrence Gold has written eight books before this one in the Brier hospital series. I was not aware of this series and look forward to reading them.

Here is his website which shows his fiction, non fiction and screenplays.

From Goodreads:

"Lawrence W. Gold, MD is a retired physician. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War where he served in an evacuation hospital, ran an emergency room and was a Battalion Surgeon. He completed his training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney in 1968.

He retired in 1995 after 23 years in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses and served as Chief of Medicine. After retirement he and his wife, Doris, spent time sailing at sea. He has written three screenplays based on his novels. His screenplay for Rage won honorable mention at the 80th annual Writer's Digest contest. He lives in Grass Valley, CA with his wife."

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

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