Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures


Book - 2006
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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians -- Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen -- this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. Deftly navigating his way through 12 interwoven short stories, the author explores the characters' relationships with each other, their patients, and their careers. Lam draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider's perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society's most highly regarded occupations.

"I wanted to write about the way in which a person changes as they become a physician -- how their world view shifts, and how they become a slightly different version of themselves in the process of becoming a doctor," Lam explains. "I wanted to write about the reality that doing good and trying to help others is not simple. It is ethically complicated and sometimes involves a reality that can only be expressed by telling a story."

In the book's first story, "How to Get into Medical School, Part 1," students Ming and Fitz wrestle with their opposing personalities and study techniques, while coming to terms with a growing emotional connection that elicits disapproval from Ming's traditional Chinese-Canadian parents. Lam's exceptional talent for describing scenarios with great precision is showcased in "Take All of Murphy," when Ming, Chen, and Sri find themselves at a moral crossroads while dissecting a cadaver. Throughout the book, readers are treated to the physicians' internal thoughts and the mental drama involved with treating patients, including Fitz's struggle with self-doubt in "Code Clock" and Chen's boredom and exhaustion in "Before Light."

From delivering babies to evacuating patients and dealing with deadly viruses, the four primary characters in Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures are made thoroughly human by Lam's insightful detail, realistic dialogue, and expert storytelling. The medical world is naturally filled with drama, but it's the author's ability to give equal weight to the smaller moments that really brings this book to life.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2006.
ISBN: 9780385661430
Characteristics: 353 pages ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 25, 2016

Lam’s characters are complicated and flawed, fallible humans who have been trusted with unthinkable responsibility, and faced with terrible dilemmas. This adds depth to the rich detail of the author’s own medical experience, making for an intriguing collection. Full review:

Jul 15, 2013

I really enjoyed this. The way the stories were presented were wonderful, and the characters were very lifelike and believable. It was less of what you would call a story and more of brief glimpses of several doctors at various points in their lives. Intriguing and entertaining :)

Jan 10, 2013

A surprising treat, as I had not been seized by the description of the book. I loved how the snapshots told throughout the book brought out the fears and hopes of the various personalities and how their lives intertwined. The story about SARS was especially gripping. I couldn't put the book down. A highly-recommended read!

Nov 16, 2012

Not good

jennywile Nov 16, 2012

Not sure about the plot of this title.

Nov 14, 2012

Really enjoyed this one. Would recommend it. Rich characters and a good story.

Aug 04, 2012

I liked this book for its simple language, without unnecessary lusciousness and "play" with the words, which are very much present in the literature: you read and you think - what is that all mean? Here - is just an interesting and simple reading. Simple but not plain. It is hard to be a doctor, but it is hard to be a patient too.

Jul 11, 2012

I don't consider myself to be a bookworm, nor do I consider myself a reader. It did manage to grab my full attention throughout the book.

Jul 02, 2012

If you like the episodes of the TV show, "Dr. House", you will like this book. It's not really a collection of short stories as there is a continuation of the characters, medical doctors, from the start and to the end of their careers.While showing the interconnectedness of the lives of these three young medical students and, then, finally as doctors in Toronto, the author interjects many episodes of patients needing their medical help. It was a joy to read this book due to the excellent writing skills of Mr. Lam and his insight into the human condition, no doubt, gained from his experience as a doctor.

kenyo123 Apr 26, 2012

I enjoyed all the stories, although I don't normally read short stories.

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Aug 25, 2016

Four young medical school students start out on the road to becoming doctors, sure of their nobility of purpose and their calling, the real and trying rigours of the medical profession still ahead of them. Ming, Fitz, Sri, and Chen come from different backgrounds and have different career paths awaiting them. In a series of twelve interlinked short stories, Dr. Vincent Lam takes the reader behind the scenes of the medical world, from medical school to residency to the emergency room and the operating room. He also draws on his experience in international air evacuation medicine and his knowledge of influenza pandemics to create richly detailed fictional accounts.


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Aug 25, 2016

Her family, she said, was modern in what they wanted for her education, and old-fashioned in what they imagined for her husband.

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