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 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 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 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 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.”