Doctors

Erich Segal, Author
Erich Segal, Author Bantam Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05294-7
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
In his most skillfully written novel to date, Segal ( Love Story , The Class ) tackles a timeworn but engrossing theme: the grueling education of doctors, and the toll exacted by their careers. As Segal sees it, many physicians are ``wounded healers'' who know that ``to care is to crack'' in this brutally competitive, sometimes poorly self-policed profession. When childhood friends Barney Livingston and Laura Castellano enter Harvard Medical School in 1958, they are soon physically and emotionally overwhelmed by mountains of demanding coursework, a classmate's suicide and the vivisection of clumsily anesthetized dogs. Later, Barney, a Manhattan psychiatrist, witnesses the heartwrenching suffering of mental patients at Bellevue Hospital, including his tragically misdiagnosed former basketball coach. Pediatrician Laura is harshly penalized by tyrannical superiors who resent her complaints about their conduct. A medical-school classmate, brilliant black surgeon Bennett Landsmann, encounters racism within and beyond the medical establishment. Seth Lazarus, another class member, faces murder charges for a mercy killing. With his usual facility, Segal spins a highly readable story that addresses the gravest, most pressing issues facing doctors today. 250,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; author tour. (September)
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