Confessions of a GP
Life, Death and Earwax
Dr. Benjamin Daniels
Reviewed by Mira de Vries
Benjamin Daniels (a pseudonym) aspires to be for general practice what
James Herriot was for veterinary medicine. He sketches his alleged
experiences and ponderings while working as a family physician in an
unnamed city in Great Britain.
Non-Brits may take a few chapters to get the knack of the British
terminology. For instance, surgery is not an operation but a doctor's
office or clinic. A&E is the emergency room, and Zinner frames are
the wheeled racks used by people who are infirm as a walking aid.
Although the British National Health Service is a unique system, we can
surely all identify with annoyance at the bureaucracy it engenders.
Usually when physicians write for a lay readership, they either cram in
too much medical jargon, or they talk down to their readers as though
addressing children. Daniels makes neither of these mistakes. His
writing is direct like talking to a friend. A few of his stories
feel suspiciously familiar; they are borrowed from the humor sites
circulating on the Internet or have been adapted from news
items in the media, but the vast majority seem familiar only because
they reflect human nature. He writes "Paid considerably less than us,
[nurses] do a
lot of the work and basically earn the GPs their big salaries." Perhaps
the author is really a nurse, or a lay writer. The book is none
the less entertaining.
With its whimsical style, easy language, and short chapters -- many no
more than two pages -- this book is ideal for a family physician's
waiting room. The doctor need not worry about his patients encountering
dissident views in it. Daniels uses not a word or letter that deviates
from received medical dogma.