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The Girl Who Died Twice: Every Patient's Nightmare - The Libby Zion Case and the Hidden Hazards of Hospitals

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At ll:43 P.M. on Sunday, March 4, l984,  l8-year-old Libby Zion was admitted to New York Hospital  with a fever and minor flu symptoms. Eight hours  later she was dead and her father, New York writer  and luminary Sidney Zion, embarked on a fiery quest  for answers and retribution that has rocked the  foundations of medical education and practice in  America and has precipitated sweeping reforms in the  laws governing hospitals and ...
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Overview

At ll:43 P.M. on Sunday, March 4, l984,  l8-year-old Libby Zion was admitted to New York Hospital  with a fever and minor flu symptoms. Eight hours  later she was dead and her father, New York writer  and luminary Sidney Zion, embarked on a fiery quest  for answers and retribution that has rocked the  foundations of medical education and practice in  America and has precipitated sweeping reforms in the  laws governing hospitals and residency programs.  The Girl Who Died Twice, written  with the participation of both the Zion family and  New York Hospital, is the first in-depth  examination of this landmark case, which recently inspired a  new round of headlines as the bitter legal battle  between the family and the hospital came to a head  in court -- and on Court TV. But last February's  stunning jury verdict also raised troubling issues  of patient responsibility in the case, and it left  unresolved life and death issues about medical  care in this country that have yet to be fully  addressed.

Here, from acclaimed  investigative writer Natalie Robins, is the impeccably  researched inside story of this compelling modern  tragedy, based on interviews with many of the  principals, their friends and associates, and hundreds  of medical experts and educators. Robins delivers  the disturbing truth about Libby Zion's life and  death and about how our hospitals really work. At  once gripping personal drama and fascinating  medical mystery, her report is vitally important  reading for anyone interested in a true understanding of  who's in charge of our health.

From the Paperback edition.

On March 4, 1984, 18-year-old Libby Zion was taken by her parents to New York Hospital with a fever and flu-like symptoms. Eight hours later she was dead. Her case made headlines across the country and led to sweeping reforms in the rules governing hospitals in America and abroad. Robins presents the inside story of this compelling modern tragedy, and delivers the truth about Libby's life and death. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Libby Zion, an 18-year-old college student, was admitted to New York Hospital in 1984 with a fever, flailing of her arms and legs and flu-like symptoms. Her death eight hours later led her father, newspaper columnist and former federal prosecutor Sidney Zion, to sue the hospital for gross negligence. Last year a jury found that Libby and the hospital shared responsibility for her death equally: it concluded that she had used cocaine, which contributed to it-a finding later set aside on a technicality-but the jury also deemed doctors culpable for prescribing the wrong medication and for negligent care. Robins, author of Alien Ink: The FBI's War on Freedom of Expression, has written a dispassionate, engrossing account of the tragedy and its aftermath. She portrays Libby Zion as a chronically depressed adolescent who, according to the testimony of friends, used cocaine frequently, was a heavy marijuana smoker and overused a wide variety of prescription drugs. Robins credits Sidney Zion's campaign against the medical establishment with leading to significant reforms in residents' training, yet her report also underscores persistent problems: inexperienced interns and residents, understaffing, inattentive technicians, equipment errors and training of residents at the patients' expense. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A poet, crime writer, and 1992 First Ammendment award winner for Alien Ink (LJ 1/92), a major study of the FBI campaign against American Intellectuals, Robins is uniquely suited to probe the widelyreported malpractice case that resulted from the death of Libby Zion, an 18-year-old Bennington College undergraduate. Admitted to New York Hospital with fever and apparent flu, Zion died in a matter of hours under the poorly supervised care of an intern on duty. Evidence of Libby's apparent multiple drug use added ambiguity to the tragic series of medical oversights and complicated the legal proceedings that followed. Although the verdict in the malpractice case was mixed, Libby's father, journalist Sidney Zion, was ultimately successful in his crusade to make teaching hospitals more accountable for the supervision of residents and interns. The troubling story of Libby's death, the grief and rage of her family, and the responses of the doctors involved in her care are thoroughly researched and expertly told. Recommended for all libraries.-Kathy Arsenault, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
William Beatty
When 18-year-old Libby Zion entered New York Hospital for "fever and earache" on the night of March 4, 1984, and died a few hours later from "cardiac arrest," she might have become just another statistic swept under a hospital's file cabinet. Instead, her father, a writer with political connections, made her death the subject of a crusade that ultimately wrought substantial changes in medical education, both under-and postgraduate, and in hospital procedures. He was not, however, able to force the hospital into public acceptance of responsibility and formal apology. Robins examines the case, which became internationally famous, without bias, thoroughly, and right through the final court decision in May_ 1995. The whole affair was hardly cut-and-dried--indeed, the title springs from the suspicion that Libby had died at home from her lifestyle before she officially died at the hospital--and that makes the book much broader in scope and interest than the bare bones of the case at first suggest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440222675
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.25 (d)

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