Monday, May 4, 2015

The End Of Healing - Jim Bailey

The End Of Healing
Jim Bailey
The Healthy City, May 1 2015, $21.95
ISBN: 9780985420390

In 2000, Dr. Don Newman works the night shift at University Hospital when a distraught woman brings in her mom.  Newman realizes from that first exam that the left half of his new patient Mrs. Bellamy’s brain is dead and that she will never walk or talk again; but also knows what is required of him since Medicaid will cover Mrs. Bellamy’s care.  Over the next three months Newman increasingly feels depressed that costs are run up to make a substantial profit by allowing Mrs. Bellamy to suffer a slow painful death and giving false hope to her grief-stricken daughter.

Although in debt due to high tuition costs, Newman abandons his plan of becoming a money-making cardiologist.  Instead he enrolls in Dr. Sampson’s Medical Systems at New England’s Florence College where he meets nurse practitioner Frances Hunt and wealthy surgeon Bruce Markum.  Under Sampson’s mentoring, Newman begins to understand the health care-government complex in which the greatest profit rules regardless of the monetary and emotional costs to the patient and his or her loved ones.

The End Of Healing is an insightful condemnation of the American healthcare system in which stunned readers will go through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross model (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and significantly Acceptance that we can do nil in the macro but plenty in the micro).  The fictional subplot is well-written even with the standard romantic triangle.  What grips readers is the interwoven denunciating documentation (especially a simplified summary chart) that makes a profound case that the “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” (Dylan Thomas) is not always the right thing for the patient but always great for the bottom line. 

Harriet Klausner

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