Chapter 1: Babe Ruth’s Cancer
His voice became progressively hoarse, and he experienced severe pain behind his left eye. He wrote in his autobiography (The Babe Ruth Story, published in 1948) that his “voice sounded like somebody gargling ashes.”
Because hoarseness heralded the onset of Ruth’s disease and plagued him throughout his illness, his doctors assumed he had cancer of the larynx (voicebox). This diagnosis was reinforced when Ruth admitted to using tobacco and drinking alcohol since he was a child. He once told a reporter, “I learned early to drink beer, wine, whiskey, and I think I was about five when I first chewed tobacco.” As an adult, he was an inveterate cigar smoker.
An autopsy revealed that he did not have cancer of the larynx.
Chapter 2: There had to be a Better Way
A natural athlete, John Bonica took up wrestling, winning the New York City middleweight intercollegiate championship at the age of 17. Two years later, as a sophomore at Long Island University, he won the middleweight regional intercollegiate championship. After this bout, the nation’s foremost wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon, Sr., convinced John to become a WWWF professional wrestler.............
The experience caused Dr. Bonica to think there had to be a better way. It was this personal event that inspired him to initiate a campaign within the medical profession to improve obstetric pain relief and anesthesia during childbirth.
Chapter 3: Detroit Never Forgave Him
Then, with tears welling up in his eyes, Nick added, “You know, Detroit never forgave him for defeating Joe Louis. The public wanted a more colorful, dominating presence in the ring and they just couldn’t appreciate the subtle brilliance of his performances. Not only that but they felt that he was holding back in some of his most important bouts…that he was overly cautious. Well, do you want to know why?” I was riveted.
Chapter 4: The Deadly Dentist
“He was not a drunkard. He always had a bottle of whiskey but never drank habitually. When he needed a drink, he would only take a small one.” Could a person be inebriated on a regular basis if he was also alert enough to count cards and have enough manual dexterity to gamble professionally, use a gun and knife with accuracy, and ride a horse?
Chapter 5: He Could Not Read a Note
It was a perfect match—Bocelli with a physical challenge to a vital organ, and Corelli with a disabling mental challenge. They were brought together by an instrument they both played by ear—their voice. Neither could read a note.
Chapter 6: Snakebite
He was cool, calm and collected, and I sensed he had considerable experience with snakebite victims. Without any prompting on my part, he gave me a detailed rundown on the patient, probably sensing this city boy’s apprehension and abject ignorance about the proper treatment for snakebites. He informed me the patient had no sensation between his great (first) toe and second toe, suggesting the man had an “anterior compartment syndrome” of the left leg.
Chapter 7: The Leper on the Bus
The chief resident told us the man had emigrated from the Ukraine to São Paolo, Brazil, where he plied his trade as a cobbler for 15 years. Each day during that period, he took the same bus route to and from the inner city—accompanied by lepers who were being treated as outpatients in São Paolo’s leprosarium. He eventually immigrated to Seattle, where he was employed in a downtown shoe-repair shop.
Chapter 8: Bow Ties
Bill Blass, the fashion authority stated that bow tie wearers are “A cult, a signature look for intellectuals, a highly personal signature.” Washington lawyer, Mark Sandground, who wears bow ties himself, says bow ties aren’t the thing to look for in a juror.
Chapter 9: The Interview
Dr. Fritz blurted out, “Jesuit high school, Jesuit college…you’re not going to find any of that Jesuit stuff around here.” I said, “I beg your pardon?” He responded by asking, “Don’t you think that your religion would pose a handicap in the practice of medicine?”
Chapter 11: Separate but Equal
The military made a major step toward recognizing the equality of DOs with MDs in June 1968, when the Army Medical Service was redesignated as the Army Medical Department. The new department’s documents read, “The Medical Corp consists entirely of commissioned medical officers who are physicians (doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathic medicine) who have completed at least one year of post-graduate training (internship)…”
Chapter 12: Humor as Medicine
One style is self-serving, while the other style serves others. In the first style, an individual displays self-enhancing humor and a humorous outlook on life and can maintain this positive perspective even when faced with potentially stressful events and situations. These individuals also use humor as a coping strategy to minimize negative emotions and keep a realistic perspective on life.
Chapter 13: The Father of Bone Marrow Transplantation
The upper age limit at most centers is 50 to 55 years for an allogeneic transplant (related or unrelated) and 60 to 65 years for an autologous transplant. The decisions to place age limits on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been driven by higher complications and death in older age groups. This is attributed to their reduced ability to withstand high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes irradiation) needed before the transplant, higher risk of short- and long-term complications of therapy and having other major health problems such as serious heart, lung, liver or kidney disease. The older transplant recipients also suffer acute and chronic graft versus host disease more frequently than their younger counterparts.
Chapter 14: Jehovah’s Witnesses
The father spoke softly but with conviction. My first reaction was that he was unusually articulate for a man identified as a strawberry farmer. He proceeded to explain, “I and my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am the head of my household and am responsible for the spiritual, financial and moral support of my family. I have raised my children to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. My understanding of the Bible, which guides my life, tells me that we must not take blood into our body. For this reason, I cannot and will not accept a blood transfusion for my son. I realize that he is in grave danger of death. But to violate my religious beliefs by allowing you to transfuse my son with blood would offend my God, Jehovah, at a time when I need Him most.”
Chapter 15: The Oldest Man in the World
Physicians are concerned about a national healthcare policy in which treatment is restricted just based on age. Relying on age alone, without additional factors such as frailty, quality of life and concurrent diseases, is something we must avoid. Besides, the organs of the same person age at different rates.
Excerpts from A VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
Chapter 10: Wombmates
It is commonly believed mirror image twins have finger, palm and heel prints that are mirror images of one another. But that belief is not true. The prints of any pair of identical twins are more alike than are the prints of two unrelated people, with a high correlation of loops, valleys, whorls and ridges. As with all identical twins, however, the details of hand and foot prints in mirror image twins are not identical—nor are they mirror images.
Contrary to popular belief, a trained German Shepherd police dog can unerringly distinguish the difference in scent between identical twins. There is probably no epigenetic basis for this. It is thought to be due to their exposure to different infections throughout life.