Provocative, heartbreaking, and darkly humorous, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures introduces readers to a masterful new voice in fiction. A practicing ER physician, Vincent Lam delivers a precise and intimate portrait of the medical profession in his fiction debut. These twelve interwoven stories follow a group of young doctors as they move from the challenges of medical school to the intense world of emergency rooms, evacuation missions, and terrifying new viruses. Winner of the prestigious Giller Prize, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures marks the arrival of a deeply humane and preternaturally gifted writer.
Fitz, Ming, Chen, and Sri are the four ambitious protagonists of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. They fall in love as they study for their exams, face moral dilemmas as they split open cadavers, confront police who rough up their patients, and treat schizophrenics with pathologies similar to their own. In one harrowing story set amidst the 2003 SARS crisis, which the author witnessed firsthand, two of these doctors suddenly become the patients.
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures invites us into a world where the ordinary becomes the critical in a matter of seconds. A formidable debut, it is a profound and unforgettable depiction of todays doctors, patients, and hospitals.
The following is the complete text of "How to Get Into Medical School, Part I", from Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.
HOW TO GET INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL, PART I
Desperate stragglers arrived late for the
molecular biology final examination, their feet wet
from tramping through snowbanks and their faces
damp from running. Some still wore coats, and rummaged
in the pockets for pens. Entering the exam hall,
a borrowed gymnasium, from the whipping chaos of
the snowstorm was to be faced with a void. Eyeglasses
fogged, xenon lamps burned their blue-tinged light,
and the air was calm with its perpetual fragrance of old
paint. The lamps buzzed, and their constant static was
like a sheet pulled out from under the snowstorm,
though low enough that the noise vanished quickly.
Proctors led latecomers to vacant seats among the hundreds
of desks, each evenly spaced at the University of
Ottawas minimum requisite distance.
The invigilators allowed them to sit the exam but, ...
Readers will find Lam's stories far more grounded in reality than the sensationalized medical dramas served up all too frequently on TV - perhaps because Lam is not only an emergency room doctor himself but also does not own a TV! Although three of the four doctors who star in his stories are of Asian descent, ethnicity has only a peripheral role to play. Center stage are the small moral dilemmas faced by emergency room doctors every day, and the tension caused by facing a life and death decision in one room, and walking straight out to potentially face another in the next.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1131 words).
Dr. Vincent Lam was born
in London, Ontario. His family
emigrated from Vietnam during
the Vietnam War and he grew up
in Ottawa speaking Cantonese at
home. He did his medical
training in Toronto, where he
now lives and works as an
emergency physician. He also
does international air
evacuation work and expedition
medicine on Arctic and Antarctic
ships. Now aged 33 but so young
looking that he claims he
sometimes still gets carded, he
is married with a 3-year-old boy
Lam made his ...
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