Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: Catching Babies by J.D. Kleinke ( Plus Giveaway for 3 Books)

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Chapter Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982663900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982663905 


Catching Babies, a new novel by medical writer J.D. Kleinke, charts the professional and personal struggles of those doctors, following a group of OB/GYNs as they complete their residency in a busy urban teaching hospital, embark on ambitious careers, and try to mend personal relationships neglected through years of training and sacrifice.

Catching Babies also explores the broader landscape surrounding obstetrics and women’s health…
  • the culture clash of religion, reproductive rights, and medical technology
  • the emotional brutality of residency training
  • the politics and bureaucracy that drive today’s academic medical centers
  • the struggles of disenfranchised women trapped inside a broken health care system
  • the truimphs of many women to get and stay pregnant against the medical and technical odds and America’s ongoing civil war over abortion rights
In obstetrics, both the courage and callowness we have come to expect of our individual physicians find some of their most dramatic expressions. Catching Babies spins their stories into a gripping mosaic of the obsessions, grandiosity, anxieties and heroism of doctors who have chosen to preside over the joyful messes and heart-breaking travesties in our hospitals’ delivery rooms.

Catching Babies will be published in March 2011 by Fourth Chapter Books of Portland Oregon, a new imprint launched this year by the creators of Portland’s Underland Press.

If you are interested in preordering Catching Babies at a special pre-publication discount, click here.

My Review:

5 stars out of 5

I am so happy that I was offered the opportunity to review this book prior to its release.  What an amazing read.  I couldn't put the book down.  Having a background in public health and having worked over 10 years in the healthcare sector, this book was right up my alley.  I am very familar with the author, J.D. Kleinke, as I had read one of his other books, Oxymorons: The Myth of U.S. Health Care System (2001), years ago, and became a fan of his work.  

Kleinke, a medical economist, shares his knowledge of the healthcare system in this gripping novel that follows a group of OB-GYN residents, as they grapple with the stresses of medical practice and having to make life-altering decisions when in crisis, with only seconds to think about the outcome, as well as sheds insight into their personal struggles outside the hospital.  You can’t help but feel for these doctors, who day in and day play a major role in life’s precious miracle – birth of a baby, but also have to play a part in life’s cruelest acts – miscarriages, stillbirths, death of a preemie/baby and more, all unfolding behind the OB-GYN delivery doors in a hospital.  

My heart goes out to all the OB-GYN practicing physicians, midwives, nurses and those who help women in labor and their babies.  I don’t think I could do what they do.  How could I live with myself if I witness a baby dying in their mother’s arms, not taking their first breath or first cry? – Just thinking about it, brings tears to my eyes.  These are truly special people, and Kleinke does a wonderful job in portraying them as such, while showing their flaws (which we all have).  

The ethical dilemmas discussed in this book are those that OB-GYN staff grapples with on a daily basis, and Kleinke does a wonderful job in shedding a life on this part of “Life’s Miracle”.  We don’t think of this when we think of labor and delivery.  Instead, we only want to think about a baby’s first cry, being placed in their mother’s arms and proud parents sharing their new bundle of joy with family and friends.  But, what about the other cases that cause doctors and staff to act in a nanosecond – well, if you want to learn about this side of the spectrum, this is a must read.

About the Author:

J.D. Kleinke is a medical economist, author, and health information industry leader. He has been instrumental in the creation of four health care informatics organizations; served on the Boards of several public and privately held health care companies; and served as a health care business columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

J.D. is currently the CEO of Mount Tabor, a health care information technology development company founded in 2007 to help Google, Microsoft and its partners build, test and launch systems for the transformation and movement of electronic medical information. Prior to co-founding Mount Tabor, J.D. helped establish Health Grades Inc., a publicly traded health care information company based in Denver, which he served as Vice Chairman of the Board until 2008. He also established the Omnimedix Institute, a charitable organization dedicated to patient and consumer rights to direct, private and secure access to their own medical data.

J.D. is a regular contributor to the policy journal, Health Affairs. His work has also appeared in JAMA, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, the British Medical Journal, Modern Healthcare, and numerous other publications. His first book, Bleeding Edge: The Business of Health Care in the New Century, is required reading in many physician-executive MBA programs and health administration graduate in the U.S. His follow-up about health care policy and market dynamics, Oxymorons: The Myth of a U.S. Health Care System, was published in 2001 to critical acclaim; and his third book, a novel about the training of OB/GYNs, Catching Babies, will be published in March 2011.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to read in order to provide an honest review.  My views/statements above are mine and mine alone.

The first 3 people to email me at rmccoy1234 at gmail dot com, and tell me why they want to read this book, will win a copy.  Please make sure to include "Catching Babies" in the subject line.

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