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Gifts of Time

Gifts of Time

by Fred J. Epstein, Elaine F. Shimberg

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Epstein, director of the New York University Medical Center's Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, operates on children with tumors of the brain and spinal column. Here, collaborating with medical writer Shimberg, he recounts the stories of patients (and their families) who seek his help from all parts of the world, such as 10-year-old Kevin from the Midwest, and Luis, a slum child from Ecuador. Writing in the first person, Epstein discusses the emotional and surgical challenges his young patients present. Alternating third-person narratives follow the surgeon and his associates through the laborious procedures by which spinal, pituitary or brainstem tumors are ``debulked'' via laser and other technologies. This heart-wrenching chronicle, which reveals Epstein as a highly empathetic, fiercely committed physician, also touches on tragic cases in which he helped parents to accept their child's death. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Gifts of Time is the story of Dr. Epstein, a pediatric neurosurgeon who believes children weren't meant to suffer but to live. Like G. Wayne Miller's The Work of Human Hands ( LJ 1/93), which profiles pediatric surgeon Hardy Hendren, this book offers us a glimpse at the world of a pioneer in pediatric surgery. But unlike the other work, which is rich in history and tradition, Gifts is rich in human emotion. While offering a wider array of patient stories, it also takes a closer look at Dr. Epstein's emotions and the emotions of those around him. The reader shares the anguish of the frightened parent waiting through the long hours of her child's brain surgery but also has a chance to experience the commitment Dr. Epstein offers each patient. Gifts shows not only the successes but the failures. It is informative for the concerned parent while remaining interesting for the casual reader. Recommended for public libraries.-- KellyJo Houtz Parish, Harrison Memorial Hosp., Bremerton, Wash.
William Beatty
Microsurgery, lasers, and the cavitron furnish the high-tech elements while hopes, fears, and acceptance are the human elements in pediatric neurosurgeon Epstein's story. Trust, persistence, sadness, and joy all figure in his relations with his office staff and surgical colleagues, and with his patients and their families. Attendant feelings of guilt, inexpressible emotions, and blind fear are profoundly woven into Epstein and medical writer Shimberg's text, to which the cases of such patients as, above all, the daughter of an optimistic rabbi and a realistic mother, give form. Particularly noteworthy is the authors' refreshingly nonsaccharine handling of the substantial role Kathy, Epstein's wife of 27 years, has played in his career.

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Penguin Publishing Group
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7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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