Medical Tuesday Blog
Extreme Medicine By Dr Kevin Fong
Miraculous Medical Tales by Brien A. Seeley, MD, Sonoma Medicine
My father-in-law, the late Dr. Lyle Powell Jr., taught me the axiom that “to best understand something complex, one should examine its extremes.” This examination not only clarifies the thing’s limits; it reveals what inner workings impose those limits. That revelation is precisely the result when this axiom is applied to human physiology by Dr. Kevin Fong in his engaging new book, Extreme Medicine.
Fong’s book provides the reader with a fascinating tour of the emergence of modern medicine from a brutish past in which war, disaster, epidemics and the perils of exploration all pressed pioneering physicians to try new things. Fong is a master storyteller, and his prose delivers a captivating and punchy mix that is part Discovery Channel and part Rod Serling. His writing style bespeaks of British formality, impeccably correct and at times reminding one of a dialogue in Downton Abbey. His medical training in London gives much of the book the tone of a lecture by an emeritus professor. Yet his tales have a dramatic and personalized intimacy, both from his own experiences and those of real historical figures. These stories are thrilling. They put the reader right there, as if personally confronting the acute, life-threatening medical problem and having to make the daring decisions about what should be done.
Extreme Medicine will reward both lay readers and those in the medical profession. For physicians, this book will summon again the awe and “aha” that we felt at the new insights into human physiology that were bestowed upon us during our medical training. When Fong recounts the frantic, midnight rush to respond to a code blue crash-cart experience, he instantly transports the physician reader back to those breathtaking codes that we attended as interns, where some of those insights were etched into us.
Time and again, Fong removes the reader from the immediate crisis to the comfort of a crystal-clear, academic retelling of the underlying physiology that pertains. This technique is quite effective, and it intensifies our appreciation for the importance of the miraculous cellular and molecular workings of human physiology. As such, this book will improve every physician who reads it. . .
This book review is found at http://www.nbcms.org/about-us/sonoma-county-medical-association/magazine/fall-2014-medicine-and-politics-departments-current-books-miraculous-medical-tales.aspx?pageid=723&tabid=747
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