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O'Malley, Martin.

Toronto, Macmillan. c1986, 239pp,cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-7715-9750-9.CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by E. Robson

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

Martin O'Malley. a freelance writer and author of the 1983 book Doctors,*" has spent over two years conducting interviews and watching the various activities at Toronto General Hospital. He observes that "the modern teaching hospital is the most complex organization in society, it is a business, a corporation, a hotel, a school, a restaurant, a charity, a supermarket of balms and medicines, a self-contained community. . . ." O'Malley investigates the various departments, events, and personalities that make up this community. Many current ethical and medical problems are touched upon, such as a reproduction biology lab, the transplant breakthroughs, AIDS, animal research, and eating disorders. Current events, including the 1986 doctor's strike and the merger with Toronto Western Hospital, are included. The reader will feel that the huge city of Toronto General has been opened and made less threatening through the discussions with patients, security, public relations, doctors, and administrators. Everyone, at some time between birth and death, will frequent a hospital and will identify with some aspect of the book.

The author has managed to balance the sad events with the success stories without over-dramatizing the life and death decisions made regularly in a major medical centre. There is little technical jargon and any layperson can easily understand the medical dilemmas presented. However, the organization of the book is haphazard and there are no indices or useful headings with which to zero in on specific topics. A few chapter headings do hint at the subject, such as the chapter on "Nerves Too Thin," an informative, well-researched discussion on anorexia nervosa. The final chapter is in praise of the "Dear and Glorious Administrator," W. Vickery Stoughton, the new president, who is selling the course for the future of Toronto General. Although an interesting read, this is not an essential purchase for curriculum support or leisure reading.

E. Robson, Winston Churchill C.I., Scarborough. Ont.

•Reviewed vol. XII/I January 1984 p. 32.

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