Rating: 4 of 5 stars
More Than It Hurts You by Darin Strauss is the story of Josh and Dori Goldin, their son Zack, and Dr Darlene Stokes. When Zack Goldin becomes ill, he is taken to the hospital by his mother, and he is treated there by Dr Stokes. Until Zack was born, Dori Goldin worked as a phlebotomist in a hospital, so she was familiar with various procedures and tests and knew exactly what questions to ask the doctors with respect to Zack's treatment. By the time Josh reached the hospital to find out what had happened to Zack, Dori had already had a confrontation with Dr Weiss, the resident on the case as well as Dr Stokes, head of pediatrics.
Dr Stokes became suspicious of Dori's behavior in the emergency room, and after a second ER visit with Zack exhibiting the same symptoms, Dr Stokes narrowed her suspicions down to Munchausen's Syndrome By Proxy. This was a controversial accusation to make since this syndrome is rare, and because there had been a string of cases where parents had been accused of harming their child when in fact they had not. Relying on her conviction that Dori Goldin was harming her child, Dr Stokes set in motion the steps needed to protect Zack from further harm.
What I liked most about More Than It Hurts You is the way Strauss takes the reader inside the thoughts of the principals involved. It is Josh who is the least knowledgeable about the events taking place concerning Zack and his condition. He relies heavily on his wife to explain to him what the doctors are talking about. His opinions are all formed based upon his wife's word, and for a long time it never occurs to him to question that.
While I do think there were times the story slowed considerably because of too much explanation of the various thoughts and feelings of the characters, it was fascinating to me to read the various thought processes and see what influenced them. I thought Strauss also did a good job of showing what a mess bureaucrats make of sensitive case like this one, and how what begins as concern for the safety of a child soon becomes lost in matters having nothing whatsoever to do with that main issue. I thought Strauss did a very good job of illustrating how easily we become distracted by matters irrelevant to the main concern, particularly when lawyers, hospital administrators, and the media become involved.
I enjoy books that deal with what motivates people to do what they do, and how they can rationalize almost anything to satisfy their own objectives. I recommend this books to anyone who also enjoys this type of story.
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