Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this book will make you think twice about staying overnight in a hospital, or having surgery, or in anyway putting your life in the hands of the medical professionals. Charlie Cullen was a nurse in New Jersey and Pennsylvania around the turn of the 21st century who was convicted of killing 13 people, admits to having killed at least 25 others, and may have caused several hundred other deaths. All of these people were in hospital recovering from serious illness when they suddenly 'crashed' and died. I was appalled at the lax accounting for meds in the hospitals where he worked, the lack of oversight on exactly how much medication was being used. I can't believe the pharmacy had no idea they were going through more (example) insulin than was being charged for. I mean, really, this explains a great deal about why medical bills are so high! And these hospitals with their CYA, pass-along-the-problem mentality....gah!! In any case, this book was fascinating on several levels, not the least of which is trying to figure out why Cullen did this. I don't think the author really ever nailed that down. There were a lot of tangents, a lot of weird ways of phrasing things, and some writing I just didn't care for, but I'm sure some of that is because this guy evokes such terror, preying on those least able to fight back. One tangent that was interesting on its own is that, should you ever need an organ transplant, the best time is in the spring because of all the motorcycle accidents that happen then because of road conditions and rider exuberance. Scary, scary stuff.

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