Baby Doctor

Klass, Perri. Baby Doctor: a Pediatrician’s Training. New York: Random House, 1992.

Reason read: November is National Health Month.

Think of Baby Doctor as part memoir, part journal and part collection of essays. Klass starts from the logical beginning, her first night on call as an intern. Fresh out of medical school she finds herself in the neonatal intensive care unit with a three pound baby who can’t breathe. Over the next 300 pages she tells us what it’s like to worry about a young mother’s ability to care for a newborn, what it’s like to watch a patient die, what it’s like to fear the accusation of child abuse in her own home and even, shockingly, what it’s like to be stalked and harassed. As her knowledge progresses and her confidence grows, Klass encounters new challenges such as resident. Klass also addresses heavier topics such as feminism and playing God; when to intervene and when to let nature take it’s course. I found both sections enlightening.

Eye opener: which came firstI can’t imagine what it takes to be a doctor, never mind a pediatrician, charged with caring for ill people children all day. I can’t imagine being a writer, thinking about your next essays at the same time as being a pediatrician, either.

Honest quotes to quote, “I don’t even try to like lost of people” (p 80) and “It is considered bad form to arrive at the destination hospital, leap briskly from the ambulance, and throw up” (p 243). True.

Author fact: Being a doctor wasn’t enough for Perri Klass. She wanted to be a writer as well.She graduated from Harvard Medical School and wrote for the New York Times.

Book trivia: I don’t know what kind of photographs I was hoping for, but they weren’t there either way.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Physicians Writing More Than Prescriptions” (p 185).

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