Baby Doctor: A Pediatrician's Training

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9780679409571: Baby Doctor: A Pediatrician's Training

In her honest, riveting prose, Perri Klass -- writer, mother, and doctor -- takes readers through her extraordinary three years of internship and residency as a pediatrician in a Boston children's hospital. Responsible for newborns, the chronically ill, and the mysteriously sick, Klass set high standards for her own performance and for those who worked with her tiny charges.

In essays and explorations on the concerns and contradictions that she faced every day, Klass reveals the fears, frustrations, and triumphs that formed her confusing life. From the difficulties of sleep deprivation to the hopelessness of treating a child with AIDS, from emergency room hysteria to intervening in cases of abuse to personal crises at home, Klass describes a trial by fire unlike any other -- a collection of experiences that changed her from a frightened, insecure medical student into a confident, caring baby doctor.

"A fascinating look into the mysterious chambers of medical science . . . Compassionate and compelling." -- Boston Herald
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From Kirkus Reviews:

Klass (Other Women's Children, 1990, etc.) describes her pediatric internship and residency, stitching together previously published pieces from The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere with rambling journal entries and present-day commentaries on that sleep-deprived, transformative time. In this sort-of-sequel to A Not Entirely Benign Procedure (1987), which described her years at Harvard Med School, Klass details the dramatic moments of her internship--that legendary medical-boot-camp experience--in a shocked, ``I-can't-believe-I'm- the-doctor'' mode: ``So I bumble around the intensive care unit, set up to make it possible for a large group of highly trained adults to take care of a group of very sick, very small babies.'' Indeed, Klass's descriptions of the ethical dilemmas that, in the form of babies too sick too live, confront doctors in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) are gripping. But the one big idea she raises--the conflict between a physician's training and the moral judgment that it is sometimes better to let an unfinished being die--is repeated so often that it loses its power. Likewise, her journal entries are (by her own admission) repetitively self- involved. Klass's best moments come when she spills some of the secrets of a large pediatric hospital: ``Common diseases have common nicknames, of course; wheezer for asthmatic (rhymes with seizer--for kid with epilepsy, giving rise to many bad songs for the Christmas show), cystic for patient with cystic fibrosis, sickler for patient with sickle cell disease.'' We long for more such detail, however calculated, and less padded-sounding reflection about how afraid the young doctor was. The exception here is Klass's justified fear of the crazy person who accused her of plagiarism and made her junior year of residency a living hell. Klass employs an admirably smooth, breezy honesty, yet much of her material feels too pat and too calculated for publication to be really moving or illuminating. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This is a very personal, at times obsessive, account of the author's year of residency at a major pediatric hospital and her description of the process of becoming a pediatrician. Klass also discusses her own experiences as a mother and the difficulty of finding a balance between motherhood and a career. Klass has set herself a difficult task. Her most natural readers, the mothers of young children, are apt to find her latest book both compelling and almost unbearably painful. The writing is eminently readable, but the details of very sick children are the stuff of mothers' nightmares, as Klass readily admits. The anecdotal storytelling style seems overly subtle in grappling wth some of the most troubling and profound issues in health care today--physician/patient communication, problems incorporating psychosocial considerations into medical care, and the discrepancy between the professed importance and value of children and actual national priorities. For general medical and popular collections where her other books ( A Not Entirely Benign Procedure , LJ 5/1/87, and Other Women's Children , LJ 8/1/90) have been popular. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92.
- Mary Chitty, Biotrends Research, Natick, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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