Baby ER: The Heroic Doctors and Nurses Who Perform Medicine's Tiniest Miracles

Baby ER: The Heroic Doctors and Nurses Who Perform Medicine's Tiniest Miracles

by Edward Humes

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Mientras que más de catorce millones de norteamericaños sufren de diabetes, la proporción se incrementa de manera considerable entre la población hispana, ya que los hispaños tienen dos veces mayor propensión de desarrollar esta enfermedad que otros grupos. Las estadísticas señalan que al llegar a los cuarenta y cinco


Mientras que más de catorce millones de norteamericaños sufren de diabetes, la proporción se incrementa de manera considerable entre la población hispana, ya que los hispaños tienen dos veces mayor propensión de desarrollar esta enfermedad que otros grupos. Las estadísticas señalan que al llegar a los cuarenta y cinco años de edad, uno de cada diez hispaños estará enfermo de diabetes. Después de los cuarenta y cinco años, uno de cada cuatro hispaños habrá sido diagnosticado con este padecimiento.
La diabetes es un padecimiento complicado que amenaza la vida misma, pero hoy en día los diabeticos pueden reducir sus riesgos y llegar a tener una vida más duradera, feliz, y productiva si cuentan con un plan para el manejo y control de su tratamiento. El Manual Joslin para la Diabetes, elaborado por el famoso Centro Joslin para la Diabetes, es el libro más adecuado para la atención personal, indispensable para todos aquellos que padecen esta enfermedad.
El Centro Joslin para la Diabetes es considerado cómo el instituto de investigación y clínica más importante del mundo en el estudio y el tratamiento de este mal, lo que hace al Manual Joslin para la Diabetes el libro más actual en la materia. Escrito bajo la dirección del doctor Richard Beaser, en colaboración con Joan Hill y un equipo de expertos, en este libro se presentan todos los aspectos esenciales para que los propios pacientes sean quienes controlen su enfermedad. Se trata de un libro práctico, actualizado, y accesible, escrito en un lenguaje claro y sencillo. Se apoya en gráficas y cuadros sobre que, cómo y cuándo comer; cómo verificar el contenido de los azúcares en la sangre; cómo administrar insulina y medicamentos por vía oral; cómo controlar las alzas y bajas de azúcar; y cómo y cuándo hacer ejercicio.

Editorial Reviews

Thomas Curwen
It is a remarkable and searing book: Some cries, we quickly learn, can never be comforted; some silences can never be coaxed into a cry....In Baby E.R., Humes has written a book that is hard to forget, a picture of sadness and joy that is all the more beautiful for its pervasive humanity and its inherent mystery. When one nurse comments, "You know, you work here, you can't help but believe in God, that there's something more going on here than what we do and what the doctors do and what the drugs do," you can't help but believe her.
Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Humes (Mean Justice; etc.) spent a year observing life inside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, Calif. In this heart-stopping account of medical prowess, triumph and tragedy, Humes writes about 11 critically ill premature babies (seven of whom survive). According to the author, premature births are on the rise for a number of reasons, including the wide use of fertility treatments, which have resulted in many more high-risk premature multiple births. Many premature births, however, are unanticipated; in some cases, it is unclear why they occur, while in others, a mother's drug addiction or undetected genetic disorder plays a role. The author portrays both the commitment and skill of the medical professionals who perform technologically advanced surgical and treatment miracles on newborns who often cannot eat or breathe on their own, singling out the indispensable role of the overworked and underpaid neonatal nurses, who provide not only physical care to infants, but also emotional support to the parents. Humes is also clear about the economic realities of neonatology, "a growth business"--which he attributes to insurance companies' fear of denying coverage in the face of negative publicity and huge public support for this special and specialized area of medicine--and NICUs' resulting profitability, "which is why they are being scarfed up by Wall Street medical conglomerates." Readers who are drawn to tales of medical emergencies and victories will take to this title. There will be a 20-city radio satellite tour and local publicity in southern California, where the author resides. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
L'ange Vert
[Humes] does a masterly job of portraying the daily grind . . . Despite its flaws, I found 'Baby ER' to be splendid reading. . . . [G]reat medical storytelling forces us to look at humanity's best and worst aspects.
New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.75(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Admission History and Physical:

Allman, BB

Day of Life: 1

Days in NICU: 1

Condition: Critical

Robert Allman races down the hospital hallway, following the plastic embossed signs leading him toward his son, a baby born far too soon, a frighteningly motionless child who had been swept from the delivery room inside the heated acrylic case of a premature-infant transporter, bound for something called the "Nick-you." That was how the nurses pronounced it, turning the acronym into words, confusing Robert until his stress-fogged mind pieced it together. Nick-you...NICU. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

How could he have forgotten that? They had told him about the Nick-you, showed it to him, readied him for it — though that brief tour seemed a lifetime ago, which in a way it was. His son's life had not yet begun back then. Now the baby was here. And everything was going to hell.

Robert thought he was prepared for this moment, but he wasn't, he realized, not even close. Both he and Amalia had been lulled by nine uneventful days of hospital bed rest, her leaking amniotic fluid and premature labor stopped in its tracks by powerful drugs. They were buying precious time, the doctors said. Every extra day in the womb meant the baby's survival chances would increase. Each day they held out without rushing to the delivery room, each day Amalia spent confined to bed twenty-three hours a day like some prisoner in solitary, meant two fewer days in the Nick-you for the baby, the doctors said. If they could somehow hold out for six weeks, they'd be home free: The dangers and uncertainties of premature birth would vanish like a nightmare at daybreak.

And it had looked for a time as if that might happen. Amalia Allman had been determined to keep that baby in, by sheer force of will if necessary. She had always been the strong one, Robert would say, the one who had grown up first and had helped him do the same. Whereas he would have gone stark raving mad, she had settled in with her books, her cross-stitching, his Game Boy, camped out for the long haul. When she had made it past the first forty-eight hours, a nurse had told her she was over the hump: Half the premature labor cases never made it to this point — she was doing great.

But today, day ten, out of nowhere, the contractions had kicked back in with a vengeance, excruciating and insistent, unstoppable this time despite the IVs, the breathing exercises, the prayers. The delivery had been awful. Despite the baby's half-normal size, his shoulders had been turned in such a way that he had gotten stuck. The neonatologist had stood poised at the foot of the operating table to receive him with a blue warming blanket in hand, exchanging worried glances with her nurse as the obstetrician struggled to extract the little boy. The fragile baby had been bruised from head to toe in the process, his head pulled into a frightening cone by the force of the vacuum extractor used to wrest him from the womb. He had cried, but just for a moment. Then the neonatal team had gone to work, the cries silenced by a plastic tube and the sudden, searing flow of pure oxygen down his small windpipe.

Now all Robert could think of were the stuffed animals he hadn't had time to buy, the baby's room that was nowhere near ready, the sheer normalcy of their shattered plans, all of it contrasted with the image of that tiny bruised baby — oh, God, he was so bruised — who hadn't cried or moved or even looked quite real as he entered the world. He and Amalia had barely gotten a look at him. Holding their son had been out of the question: He was headed to Baby ER.

Now Robert simply wants to find him, the vivid cartoon characters and nursery verse adorning the corridors of the children's hospital passing by in a surreal blur. "Go," Amalia had told him as they stitched her up, "I'll be fine. Just go. Stay with him." And so he dodges visitors and gurneys, desperate and helpless and alone, running toward his new son, toward the unknown.

Copyright © 2000 by Edward Humes

Meet the Author

Edward Humes, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for specialized reporting, is the author of many critically acclaimed nonfiction books including, Monkey Girl, School of Dreams, Mississippi Mud, Mean Justice, and Garbology. He is currently writer-at-large for Los Angeles Magazine and lives in California. Visit

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