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Life, death, and in between : tales of clinical neurology

Author: Harold L Klawans
Publisher: New York : Paragon House, 1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
How do doctors piece together obscure medical clues to make a diagnosis? What happens when the decisions are a matter of life and death? In these twenty-six gripping tales culled from his three decades in medicine, the eminent neurologist Harold Klawans, "the shrewdest medical super-sleuth writing today" (The [London] Sunday Times), reaches to the heart of modern medicine.
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Genre/Form: Case studies
Popular works
Personal Narrative
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Harold L Klawans
ISBN: 1557785260 9781557785268
OCLC Number: 25370526
Description: 270 pages ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Harold L. Klawans.

Abstract:

How do doctors piece together obscure medical clues to make a diagnosis? What happens when the decisions are a matter of life and death? In these twenty-six gripping tales culled from his three decades in medicine, the eminent neurologist Harold Klawans, "the shrewdest medical super-sleuth writing today" (The [London] Sunday Times), reaches to the heart of modern medicine.

Here the author of the highly acclaimed Toscanini's Fumble and Newton's Madness recounts how as a terrified resident he once confused the smell of his own nervous sweat with the odor of the patient - which turns out to be the essential clue in the diagnosis. We meet the "Lone Ranger" who becomes a mummy after he's given an experimental drug for schizophrenia; the vice president of a bank who believes that snake venom will cure his Lou Gehrig's disease; a man whose eyes, even while driving, suddenly, spontaneously, close; and an eminent neurologist from Vienna whom Klawans exposes as having been a member of the SS. One of the most chilling stories chronicles the drama of a patient whose family chooses to keep him confined to his wheelchair and refuses him treatment to satisfy their own need for control.

Bizarre, disturbing, moving - and always fascinating - these tales show how fine the line is between life and death. Klawans poses such controversial questions as: When is someone considered dead? Should doctors fight to extend a life that cannot be saved? When is prolonging life just prolonging the final agony? We witness how in a race to perform the first heart transplant in Chicago, doctors are ready to pull out the heart of a man thought to be dead but who is only unconscious. We see a desperate father who holds nurses at gunpoint while he disconnects the life support system for his comatose child. Throughout, Klawans defends the patient's right to decide when, where, and how to die, with the help of help or his physician. Guided by this superb storyteller and gifted and compassionate doctor, we explore the edges of life and death and come closer to the mystery of what it means to be a human being.

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