Island Practice: Cobblestone Rash, Underground Tom, and Other Adventures of a Nantucket Doctor

Pam Belluck. PublicAffairs, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58648-751-5
Belluck, a health writer for the New York Times, introduces readers to Dr. Timothy Lepore, an eccentric jack-of-all-trades practicing in Nantucket—he's a surgeon, physician, psychiatrist, and occasional veterinarian, and he's got a cache of 200 guns booby-trapped with tear gas. In page-turning prose, Belluck details some of Lepore's remarkable cases and his decidedly unique methods of diagnosing and treating patients (e.g., if a patient wants to leave the hospital before Lepore gives the go-ahead, he "just takes their pants away"). When 56-year-old Elliot Norton came in with a droopy lip and feeling generally unwell, Lepore thought "Something smell[ed] wrong," and ordered a CAT scan, revealing several potentially deadly aneurysms. He even saved the toes of a two-month-old by spotting the rare "toe-tourniquet syndrome," which is caused by hair wrapping around infants' toes and cutting off circulation. Truly dedicated to his community, Lepore allows patients to come to his home, provides treatment in trade (opting for cookies or a handgun in lieu of cash), and though he doesn't agree with legalizing marijuana ("people don't handle it right in this culture"), he'll procure weed brownies for cancer patients. Inspiring and entertaining, Lepore's story and his beloved island come to life in Belluck's hands. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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