Book review: The Wrong Side of an Illness

Book cover for The Wrong Side of an Illness

The Wrong Side of an Illness. By Owen Stanley Surman, MD. Online: iUniverse, 2007. ISBN: 978-0595477524. Paperback, 216 pages. $20.90.

The secondary title of this book is A Doctor’s Love Story; it follows the life and death (from ovarian cancer) of the wife of a transplant psychiatrist in New England. Theirs is a happy and successful family, with a past and future familiar to many BCMJ readers. A dire diagnosis out of the blue changes the perspectives and observations from the other “wrong” side of the medical team. Although the deeper philosophies are only touched upon, and the story is told in a voice that somehow seems a bit more detached than it could be, the book is well written and overall a good read. Through the illness, the characters change their relationships with colleagues who become caregivers, patients who become partners in shared grief, and knowledge of prognosis and expectation that become damning. Some conflicts and disagreements with caregivers, mostly related to ego and fear, surface throughout the story, and family relationships predictably are both tested and appreciated. There are several British Columbia connections that brought this story closer to home, and the medical and surgical descriptions would not be overwhelming to nonmedical readers. 


Cynthia Verchere, MD. Book review: The Wrong Side of an Illness. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 8, October, 2009, Page(s) 355 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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