Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

From the blurb:
"Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians – Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen – this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. Deftly navigating his way through 12 interwoven short stories, the author explores the characters’ relationships with each other, their patients, and their careers. Lam draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider’s perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society’s most highly regarded occupations."

The story that hit me the most in this collection of shorts was the one about Sars - 'Contact Tracing'. It reminded me of the times in Singapore when we had to take and record our temperatures twice a day (or was that thrice?) at work. Our team of web content producers were split in two and made to work out of different locations on the island. I remember watching on TV, the tents set up outside the hospitals, where people waited to be tested. Masks were out in full force. Temperature-taking everywhere. People were wary, people were scared.
"The windows of this ward looked over the back of the hospital where there was now a tent, and a line of hospital staff waiting to be screened for entry. As if the hospital was worth lining up for."
Overall, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures was a good read. I liked that it was presented as a collection of shorts involving the four characters - it kept me interested, kept me reading on to figure out if I could learn more about these characters in later stories. There are a lot of medical terms used, so the glossary at the back might come in handy. Then again, if you, like me, are a fan of House MD, then these terms are probably ones you've heard of before (although not necessarily understanding them!)

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Wow, sounds like you could really relate to that sroty. Glad you enjoyed the book. I read about a third and had to return it to the library when it was due. i will get to it another day.