Medicine's Strangest Cases (Strangest Series) Paperback – 4 Oct 2002
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About the Author
Michael O'Donnell practised medicine for twelve years before becoming a writer. He was editor ofWorld Medicine, has published two novels, and written and presented over one hundred TV documentaries in Europe and the US. At Radio Four he was chairman of My Word, presenter of the award-winning series Relative Vaues and a regular contributor to the programme Stop The Week.
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Top Customer Reviews
With the title "Medicine's Strangest Cases", I think I can be forgiven for expecting it to be about strange medical cases. It would perhaps be more accurate, however, to describe it as "Lazily-researched Medical Anecdotes." There are very few stories of actual medical conditions - many of the short chapters relate to the claims of quack doctors, instances of malpractice (confirmed and alleged), and the annoyance of patients ringing their GP in the middle of the night. Even "the Kentish man who kept getting pregnant" is only some old geezer with couvade who warrants little more than a paragraph before a brief general discussion of that condition.
The "over five centuries" referred to on the cover is rather arbitrary - the stories span from Hippocrates to the 1990s, but of more than 100 "cases", a mere 23 are pre-20th century. As someone with a keen interest in medical history, I hoped for plenty of 18th-century material, but there isn't much - just a few old chestnuts including James Graham's Celestial Bed, which is not exactly a newly-researched subject.
O'Donnell has a habit of referring to Richard Gordon all the time, and uses a similar, slightly flippant style to Robert M. Youngson (in whose books several of the stories have already cropped up). Towards the end, he really scrapes the barrel by giving (admittedly funny, but nothing much to do with medicine) instances of literalism - yes, that's right, the "condition" that Denis Norden goes on and on and on about ad tedium whenever he is let loose on the telly.Read more ›