Burn Unit: Saving Lives after the Flamesby Barbara Ravage
Sometime in the early hours of the morning, the narrow entrance to Dan O'Shea's basement studio apartment began to fill with smoke. Most likely a cigarette had been left smoldering in an overflowing ashtray. Firefighters found Dan unconscious and barely breathing; his face was buried in a futon mattress, his back exposed to flames. For Tom Parent, a series of minor miscalculations added up to disaster: a pot full of cooking oil on the stove ignited. Tom grabbed the fiery pot and pivoted toward the door, passing under the blades of the ceiling fan as they turned lazily overhead. Within seconds he was engulfed in flames. By the time the EMTs met up with him, he was headed into full-blown shock.
Though each of us is just a spark away from being a burn victim, most of us know little and understand less about the world burn patients inhabit. A tale of hope and heroism, Burn Unit offers a rare glimpse of that world: a Level I burn center where nothing is more important than saving lives. With unflinching urgency, Barbara Ravage follows an extraordinary team of healers at Masschusetts General Hospital, the cradle of modern burn treatment and the site of one of the best burn units in the world. From Boston's Cocanut Grove fire of 1942 to Dan and Tom's present-day treatments, we watch everyday heroes do their incredible but punishing work against the backdrop of the history and science that has played out there. A book about good healers and medicine at its best, of selfless crusaders, teamwork, and passionate, patient-centered care, Burn Unit is unforgettable.
- Da Capo Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.80(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.91(d)
Meet the Author
The author of six books, Barbara Ravage is a member of the National Association of Science Writers. She lives on Cape Cod.
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This is where the warriors of Flameclan will nest. There is enough room for multiple cats to sleep here. It is made up of a large area of bushes and bracken woven together. There is a roof of thick, tightly woven vines. ~ \•Fawnstar•/
Burn Unit is a marvelous book. The writing sparkles -- Ravage involves the reader in the progress of the patients she tracks, the history of burn care and medical understanding of burns, and the unique world of care givers in the field of burn treatment. Burns are not like other illnesses/injuries. This book brings the reader into unfamiliar territory (some of it difficult)-- but you can't put it down. Anyone with an interest in reading about medicine -- or about survival -- or about caring, will love this book.
A fantastic book! Ravage 'puts you there' as vividly as any nonfiction I've read recently. I opened BURN UNIT with no medical background and no personal experience with burns; soon, though, I was not only getting a personal tour of the best burn unit in the world, I was being sensitively taught what I needed to know to understand what I was 'seeing'. That show-teach-show cycle is, for me, the essence of great nonfiction, and Ravage is a master of the craft. If you want to enlarge your life, in knowledge and compassion, read this book.
I have just today finished Burn Unit. Finishing a book for me is relatively unusual. I always have a few going at a time, and most get only part way - they just don¿t get picked up again. But I keep returning to this book. Barbara Ravage has written a classic. Her writing is engaging, as she monitors burn survivors Dan and Tom and their families, without giving in to simplification and caricature. These people feel real. Their caregivers are presented in the context of their work. They convey the story of the technology and the medicine of burn care, in a remarkably lucid, interesting way. Their personal lives are, appropriately, only sketched. I had experience in the MGH Burn Unit as a fourth-year med student, in 1973. And I¿ve had 26 years of primary care internal medicine in a rural area. This book has tought me a world of new perspectives and insights, basic science and intensive care medicine, and especially understandings about wound healing. And I believe the author has communicated this difficult material in a manner which will be comprehensible to any serious reader, even one without great technical background. Her ability to appeal to, and to be important to, a diverse reader base, reflects the maturity of her perspective. I have been recommending this book to friends and profiessional colleagues, as a most- worthwhile read. Any care provider will gain valuable understandings from this pleasant task.