Where Night Is Day: The World of the ICU

ILR: Cornell Univ. (Culture and Politics of Health Care Work). 2013. 248p. bibliog. ISBN 9780801451683. $24.95. MED
Kelly (registered nurse, Lovelace Women's Hospital, Albuquerque) draws on his experiences as an intensive-care nurse to put a human face on the decisions made by the practitioners of medicine. He writes about patients not simply as biological problems, but as complex individuals whose health and decisions are deeply shaped by their families, histories, and economic circumstances. Interspersed with these portraits are reflections on the nature of medicine, the development of medical education, and the history of health care. At times the book seems overly critical of physicians; while some may not appreciate nurses, many doctors understand what nurses do and trust their judgments and opinions.
VERDICT Some patient portraits are moving, while others seem overly dramatized and filled with clumsy descriptive writing. In addition, general readers may find the unexplained medical terminology a hindrance to fully understanding Kelly's message. Despite the relative scarcity of nurse's memoirs, this is an optional purchase.
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