First in the Brier Hospital Series. If you believe that television, movies or medical fiction, accurately portray what it's like to be an acute care physician or a critically ill patient in a hospital today, think again. Doctor Joseph Polk is an intelligent, charismatic, and a powerful member of the medical staff at Brier Hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he's killing his patients. No gun, knife, poison or drug injected into their intravenous tubing, common plot lines in medical thrillers, and he doesn't plan to kill them. They die anyway because this once brilliant physician, a functional psychopath for most of his career, has decompensated. Nurses and front-line physicians see Polk's indifference, incompetence, and stubborn cruelty, but the medical staff and the hospital administration are willfully blind. Patients suffer, and worse. Jack Byrnes, finally completing his training in Intensive Care Medicine, joins the staff at Brier Hospital. Well prepared to care for patients, Jack is woefully unprepared when he runs smack into Joe Polk, the medical staff and the hospital's administration. The strength of First Do No Harm lies in the authenticity of the medical setting and the struggles of patients and physicians. Joe Polk is a very different kind of villain.
©2012 Lawrence W. Gold, M.D. (P)2014 Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.
This is my first really negative review but I had to write it. This was more a story about the politics and bureaucracy that doctors have to deal with. The narrator was horrible. He sounded like he was reading with gum or a lifesaver in his mouth. Don't waste the credit.
I have worked in healthcare for most of my adult life, so I was eager to read this book, thinking that it would be something I could relate to. It's certainly no thriller... There is no real suspense, and the story line is not really as interesting as I had hoped. The narrator sounded like he just wanted to get through the darned thing. His voice was often monotone, and his characters were sometimes indistinguishable. He also could have used some help with his pronunciation of medical terms.
It seemed to me that the author wrote this for unsophisticated readers. The language was often quite childish (particularly the few intimate scenes, which were almost embarrassingly written). There were obvious editing issues with tenses and pronouns.
Overall, the premise of the book was a good one. It's a good thing to explore the issues around dealing with difficult and incompetent physicians in the hospital setting. I just wish it had been much better written and performed.
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