In this collection of "clinical tales," to use Oliver Sacks' term, Sue Hall, an experienced neonatologist who spent some years as a social worker before medical school, tells a remarkable range of stories about newborns in the NICU and their parents.  As memoir, the stories record moments in a life full of other people's traumas, disappointments, anxieties, and hard-won triumphs where her job has been to hold steady, find a balance point between professionalism and empathy as young parents go through one of the hardest kinds of loss.  Each story is told with clarity and grace, sketching the characters deftly and offering useful medical information along the way on the assumption that many who read the book will do so because they are facing similar challenges and decisions.  Each story is followed by a two- to three-page "Note" giving more precise medical background and offering further resources for those who have particular interest in the kind of case it was. 


The book serves several purposes:  it is an engaging series of short stories about the life of a doctor in what is possibly one of the most emotionally challenging specialties; it offers guidance through and beyond examples to those whose newborns are suffering from any of the range of difficulties encountered in the NICU; it provides a broader perspective for readers interested in this corner of public health, reflecting frequently on the social contexts of pregnancy and birth, and the ways prematurity and the health crises that come with it are predicated on an environment in which many young people don't have sufficient health education or access to prenatal health care.  A good read even for the general reader who may simply pick it up "for the love of babies."


WorldMaker Media

Place Published

Newton, MA



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