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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Neuschatz, Joseph J.: TerrO.R.

  Amazon  

2 stars

Note: The author informs me that his book has been re-written and re-edited, and that the version of the book currently available is thus slightly longer than and otherwise changed from the version that I review here.

TerrO.R. is a brief, self-published novel by Joseph Neuschatz, a doctor, whose medical expertise is apparent on every page of the book. The book's protagonist is Dr. Philip Newman, an anesthesiologist at Soundedge Hospital, whose troubles begin when a 19-year-old patient, otherwise in good health, inexplicably dies during routine surgery. The case is strange at the outset: despite his age, the patient is being forced by his dominating father to have his tattoos removed. And when the operation goes awry, the father is unusually quick to sue. Neuschatz takes us through the operation and other day-to-day experiences in the life of a busy anesthesiologist. And he turns Newman into an armchair amateur sleuth insofar as Newman figures out--from a pattern of such cases--the complicated story behind the tragic tattoo operation.

TerrO.R. is a sort of didactic novel, a lightly fictionalized vehicle for delivering information about medical care as well as Neuschatz's opinions about the health care industry. Neuschatz talks readers through procedures in passages that are authoritative but rather dull for the layman:

"The side about to be operated on received an intravenous cannula (attached to a syringe extension) and a deflated tourniquet. After most of the venous blood was ejected by the rolling of a tight elastic bandage (on the vertically elevated arm) from the finger tips down, the tourniquet was inflated and the bandage removed. The veins of the now pale and anemic looking arm were ready to be filled with a diluted Lidocaine solution."

There are a great many such descriptions in the book. In the non-medical parts of the book--the narrative holding the medical sections together--the writing is bland and the dialogue very stiff:

"'You never stop making me laugh, Arthur! I always know I can count on your good advice.'

"Any time, Dr. Newman! Give my love to Mrs. Newman.'

"'Only if you give my love to Mrs. Ross.'

"With pleasure! But I will be able to do that only if she decides to talk to me tonight. By tomorrow, I will probably forget!'

"'Tell her that I insist she be nice to you. You are my hero!'

"'I will tell her what you just said, for sure! Have a nice Sunday!'

"'You too...'"

There is also a loose end I would have liked tied up. (Or was that car accident really just a car accident?)

All that said, the mystery behind the failed operation is an interesting one, and its solution perhaps not so far-fetched. I can imagine the book's plot being translated successfully into an episode of a medical show such as House.

Comments

1.

"There is also a loose end I would have liked tied up. (Or was that car accident really just a car accident?) "

Debra Hamel is right !

I now feel obligated to explain the non-correlated death of the two O.R. associates in the novel. I did not emphasize my reasons enough. The last minute impossibility for Philip Newman to attend the funeral was the point I was trying to make. A practicing Anesthesiologist can never be sure on keeping appointments, no matter how important they are.

I was not able to be present to any of my 3 children's birth. For the last one, I took my annual vacation during the "due date" just to be sure that I'll be there and, when my son was born and the anesthesiologist on OB duty took care of my wife, another baby decided to be born at exactly the same time. Being the only "gaspasser"available to give his mommy anesthesia, here I was practicing my trade in "Delivery Room # 2" when I heard my son crying for the first time in "Delivery Room # 1."

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