"It is time to stop, time to take stock of what is happening in the practice of medicine."

A physician specializing in urology recounts incidents in his 30-year practice to illustrate some of the flaws in the current medical system. Young vividly describes the sleepless nights and weekends weighed against the constant requirement for total concentration and alertness, two factors affecting any hard-working medical practitioner. Using a myriad of memories, he carefully paints a picture of the many ways that medical work has gradually changed, often for the worse. Such issues include digitalized electronic medical records that may allow a diagnosis of “normal” for every condition a patient might have, even those for which one has not been examined or, at the opposite extreme, leave a diagnosis of some abnormal condition on the patient’s permanent record long after it has been resolved. Another problem is the explosion of medical marketing; ads on TV and the Internet can give false hope for treatment. Complexities of medical insurance can prevent needed care, and fear of lawsuits can have a deleterious effect on a physician’s practice.

Young’s presentation is especially compelling because it does not constitute a general series of gripes about all medical practices and procedures but relies solely on his own direct personal experience within the system. Though retired, he retains his credibility on the subject matter as a member of the faculty of the Department of Urology at the University of Illinois. He sometimes injects a bit of sardonic humor as he recalls his professional years, and his stories of the various defects and serious illnesses handled by a urologist are fascinating, dramatic, and, at times, highly disturbing, reminding the reader of a doctor’s dedication despite the challenges of the work of preserving our life and health. As medical systems increasingly come under critical examination, Young’s book offers a rational, thought-provoking exploration based on real-life events.

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