July 13, 2012

Really needed editing and fact checking

Derailed - Memoirs of a Botched Hysterectomy: A Story of Undiagnosed Endometriosis by Jaimi Taylor

3.5 out of 5.0 stars

I read this book with interest from two fronts: as a woman who has considered a hysterectomy and as a registered nurse with many years of nursing experience. ... Then the English teacher in me came out as well.

Jaimi Taylor (pseudonym for Lori Moeszinger) writes about a harrowing experience of medical errors and cruelties during her ordeal of a simple hysterectomy becoming one that was complicated by undiagnosed endometriosis that had invaded her pelvic area. Instead of taking the wise course of closing her up and not proceeding with the complicated surgery on his own, Dr. X tries to complete the operation anyway causing more damage by trying to repair tissues that had been eaten away by the disease.

She remembers her experience from the lay person's point of view and I found multiple errors as a medical person - for example, the nurses being depicted as working from 9 to 6. Nursing shifts are generally soul crushingly early or late with day nursing waking up as early as 5 am to report to work by 6:45 am, or trying in vane to sleep so they can eat dinner and go to work and stay up all night. There were many other more detailed facts that didn't bear out. There should have been a medical professional involved in some of the fact checking to give more accuracy. She does acknowledge that her memory of events may have been colored by the pain she was in. Having cared for a sick loved one with no experience in the medical field, I know that impressions and memories can be shaped by pain, so on this I can cut her some slack.

One of the things Taylor did well was choosing descriptive names for characters in her true story - for example Dr. Lifesaver, Nurse Angel, Nurse Rachel (a thinly veiled reference to Nurse Ratchet). Yes this was done quite well and gave a hint of what was to come. Another thing Taylor did well was pace this story well and keeping reader interest very high (at least for me). However, this story really needed some editing - there were phrases that were grammatically incorrect and the prose stumbles a bit. The fact that she owns the company that published this book points to the fact that there was no editor involved.

All of that taken into account, I'm still glad that I read this book. It gave me a view of what can go wrong with a routine hysterectomy and also gave me a birds-eye view of a patient's perspective.


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