Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lawrence W. Gold, M.C. Creates Unique Drama Taking Readers Behind Scenes in The Doctors' Lounge!

"Dr. Weizman, the physical examination suggested
the presence of a pericardial friction rub. Why
didn't you follow up?"
"Because," Jacob said, "I wasn't sure that I heard one.
Transient rubs can be problematic. You'll notice
that I asked the ER physician to check him
periodically for a rub, but he heard none."
"This case is unusual on many fronts. The patient was only thirty-two and had no history of high blood pressure, a common precursor to a dissection. The mean age for such aneurysms is sixty-three and we estimate that it occurs in up to 3.5 percent of 100,000 patients. The first case described was of King George II of Great Britain in 1760. He turned to Jacob and smiled, "Weren't you his attending physician?"
The audience laughed and Jacob saluted...

Dr. Jacob Weizman, the main character, has lost a patient. While not his fault, having to go through the routine morbidity and mortality conference was a difficult activity for him. So much so that he decided to cut back on his patient care even though hospital staff wanted him to stay. When they couldn't change his mind, they asked him to take on the presidency which would place him as liaison between medical staff and administrators and other involved parties. In that capacity, readers learn of the type of issues that arise within the inner workings of the hospital.

Instead of the television drama where viewers are involved in actual medical cases, Dr. Gold allows us to become involved with the lives, frustrations and problems faced by medical personnel...

The Doctors' Lounge:
A Brier Hospital Novel

By Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

I binged when I first met Dr. Gold through his books, reading three of his novels over one weekend...Tortured Memory, For the Love of God, and Rage. Not only did I love them but his fans visited over 1200 times to learn about his work! Needless to say, I was happy to have  the opportunity to read his latest, even though this novel is quite different from the others...

The book shares results of some of the changes in hospital management in recent years and, through illustrative cases, reveals the dangers that can occur when non-medical professionals begin, or try, to make decisions based only on politics or the bottom-line cost...

Before continuing I should highlight that Jacob and his wife, a psychiatrist, are both highly valued even though they are now in their 80s. They are both holocaust survivors, which seems to undoubtedly have made them stronger and able to deal with just about any situation!  Both are well respected, and desired by patients based upon their exemplary service in their respective fields. In fact, one of Dr. Gold's colleague, with whom he was once friends, had turned into an enemy because some of his patients had left his practice to have Jacob as their doctor... Then, at this much later time, Jacob becomes involved when complaints have started coming in about the man's diminished ability to perform his responsibilities...

One of the more interesting situations is when a doctor is accused of euthanasia
 of a terminal patient... And it is one of the nurses who files the claim and stirs up considerable trouble... Even though both the patient and his wife had requested it occur and had apparently been overheard...the doctor had refused. The patient had died on his own very soon, however, which left room for the accusation!

While another doctor is caught in a legal suit because he saved a young girl who had tried to commit suicide. She had signed a DNR form, but when the doctor, who was not her regular physician, talked to her mother, he was asked to save her life if possible... while the twin of the suicide wanted to allow her to die...

What I enjoyed most about the book was the professional characters who were still working in their senior years and the husband-wife partners in life and their professional careers who brought light humor into play when appropriate but were still able to take a stand to ensure effective treatment in any given situation when required.

"I'll tell you something that you already know--something I'm loathe to tell young physicians."
"I'm waiting," Warren said.
"I was smart, for sure, smarter than most, I say with modesty, but my success came in part from skills less well-defined. Thanks to Lola, I learned to read patients well, and..."
"Don't get mystical on me, Jacob."
"But, Warren, that's exactly it. You do it. I do it. Most experiences nurses do it..."
Warren laughed. "Don't start singing; birds do it, bees do it, or even educated fleas do it...?
"you're older than you look, Warren," He paused, "How often has a patient stepped into your office and without a word, you knew it. Knew that he or she was extremely ill or dying. How many times have I heard or said, or heard nurses say, 'he won't make it through the night'?"
"I'm not talking about obvious signs," Jacob said. You don't have to be a physician to read those. It's the subtle signs, or no apparent signs, that experienced practitioners can read."
"I'm losing you, Jacob." He paused. "By-the-way what day of the week is it?"
Jacob laughed, "I should be asking you that question. Let me lay it out for you. When humans perceive something in an instant, like Malcolm Gladwell describes in his book: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, I can consider only two possibilities, humans are perceiving subtleties especially groups of them, or we get into the so-called paranormal, like ESP, I know how much you're going to value that..."

The Head of Jacob's department wanted him to get back to work and would think of ways to argue through Jacob's concerns about missing something in his patient that he felt he should have identified... Would he ever go back to work? Lola also thought he should, especially since she was still working...

It appeared, though, that he could have a full-time job just helping others to make it through the bureaucratic and legal issues they faced, while trying to heal their patients... This book, I think, is an important one for Dr. Gold to have written in our present medical environment in the United States. It is definitely intriguing enough to keep readers interested, but also provides knowledge of what medical staff are facing--especially in a time when a doctor can be sued for saving somebody's life! Yikes!

You really have to check this one out--for a number of reasons besides Dr. Gold being an excellent writer and storyteller! Highly recommended!


Biography: I was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, moved to Queens, and then, as New Yorkers say, my family ascended to the Island. After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School, I went to Adelphi, a college then, a university now, and then to medical school in Chicago. The war in Vietnam interrupted my postgraduate medical training with a year in Colorado Springs and another as a Battalion Surgeon in Vietnam. I spent seven months in the Central Highlands with the 4th Infantry and five months in an evacuation hospital in Long Binh outside Saigon where I ran the emergency room. I returned intact in 1968 to complete my training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney, nephrology. I worked for twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses often in ICU, and served as Chief of Internal Medicine and Family Practice. For many years, I was an active member of the quality assurance committee. Circumstances permitted my wife, Dorlis, and me to retire in October 1995. Before fate could intervene, we tossed off the dock lines, and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for a life at sea in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Four years later, exhausted from repairing everything on board, (often many times) we sold the sailboat and within a year took the lazy man’s out; we bought a Nordic Tug trawler. We motored around Florida, the Bahamas, and the entire East Coast and completed two ‘circle trips’ to Canada and back, eight months, the first time, five months, the second. I’ve written eight novels, five in he Brier Hospital Series, and one non-fiction book, I Love My Doctor, But…, a lighthearted look at the patient/doctor relationship. I recently published my ninth novel, A Simple Cure, about the search for the cure of the most deadly skin cancer, malignant melanoma. I write primarily to entertain, but I can’t help but pass on to readers observations and beliefs culled from years of practice, and yes, my biases, too. I strive for realism in portraying the medical scene which is gripping enough without melodrama or gimmicks. With even a minor degree of success in writing novels, comes responsibility to readers. I attempt to produce honest material that reflects my beliefs. Exposing these beliefs to the public through my writing requires courage, stupidity, or both. My fans have been generous, and although nobody enjoys criticism, I’ve learned much from that, too. The novel that expresses most clearly my candor, and my bias, is For the Love of God. The novel reflects my attitudes toward those who are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children for their personal religious beliefs.
We live in beautiful Grass Valley with 15 1/2 year old Mike, a terrier mix and Bennie, an 8 year old Yorkie who just looks like he’s on steroids. 

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