The Making of Modern Medicine: Turning Points in the Treatment of Disease & Stores from the Emergency Room



Two of a Kind

I decided to take advantage of my hour long lunch hour by taking part of it and reading books. Right now, I’m concentrating on non-fiction, Medical History books; eventually, I’ll get back into reading fiction.

One of the last of the hardcover books left on my shelf is The Making of Modern Medicine: Turning Points in the Treatment of Disease by Michael Bliss and the next book was the Kindle version of Stores from the Emergency Room by Mary Beth Engrav, MD.

I’m combining both reviews into one because after completing my reading, I was left with the same feeling of bewilderment: these books were very well written, interesting to read but ultimately left me unsatisfied and unlikely to read them a second time.

The Making of Modern Medicine by Michael Bliss can be described as not only a very short book but a preface to three of Dr Bliss’ three other books: Plague: A Story of Smallpox in Montreal, Williams Osler: A Life in Medicine, and The Discovery of Insulin (which I’ve read and previously reviewed). It’s not that the individual stories weren’t interesting but they were obviously written to prompt readers to read the actual books and honestly, as a reader, I feel duped. I’m sad to say that, but that’s honesty how I feel. Yes, the information was interesting and well-presented, but it was obvious presented more as an over-view, rather than in-depth analysis.


I didn’t really have that problem with the second book, Stores from the Emergency Room. It was an interesting collection of anecdotes of interesting cases Dr Engrav had encountered while an emergency room physician. The stories reminded me of the Emergency Room itself: tell the story, get the patient off to a specialist.

Perhaps I’m picky, but I seriously wanted more background: hospital background, background of Emergency Medicine in that hospital, background of Dr Engrav herself. Something. Anything more than, “here’s the patient – here’s what we did — there goes the patient.” Yawn.

I had a hard time coming up with a rating for these two books and I’ve decided on ***/***** but in reality, I would give them each 3.5/5 stars. Well-written but ultimately unsatisfying.

(Originally published on Live Journal: Serenade in Blue blog on 14 July 2013)

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