Lindsay Weber, September 16, 2009 (view all comments by Lindsay Weber)
Although this is fiction, everything this real life anesthesiologist describes is true, from the malpractice lawsuits in healthcare right down to the descriptions of the OR and its penchant for gossip and heavy eye makeup showing above a surgical mask. You will be frightened by the discovery in the end but come to understand that it is sadly common. As a nurse already fascinated by anesthesia, I loved this story and highly recommend to those in healthcare and those who are not.
Laurie Blum, August 18, 2009 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
"As the daughter of a family practioner who began treating patients in the late 1930s (pre-penicillin) when ether was the preferred method of anesthesia, I could truly relate to the dedication of the medical profession that is so effectively presented in Carol Cassella's "Oxygen."
The author's precise narrative style perfectly mirrors the workings of a gifted physician’s mind. With blade-sharp insight, she lays bare the failings of a well-run but flawed hospital & the larger health-care system. When a routine procedure goes horribly wrong & leads to the death of an innocent child which includes the horror of a single mother, Dr. Marie Heaton, anesthesiologist, finds herself in the midst of a storm that threatens her career, her self-confidence & the choices she’s made inside & out of the Operating Room. The ending is deeply emotional, resonating with powerful sentiment yet never sentimental. This fiction will provide several quality hours of discussion in book review clubs. Do not miss this new book!"
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Simon & Schuster -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Powered by Cassella's 25 years in the medical field, this nicely wrought debut follows the travails of an experienced Seattle anesthesiologist after an eight-year-old patient dies while under the knife. In the aftermath, Dr. Marie Heaton is entangled in both her grief and a malpractice lawsuit. As the many meetings with attorneys blur together and autopsy results are awaited, Marie, who regrets having missed out on the 'intended stream of marriage and motherhood,' mediates the domestic squabbles in her sister's family; leans on and gets leaned on by colleague and ex-lover-turned-best friend, Joe Hillary; and tries to come to a dtente with her widowed father, who is losing his vision and with it his autonomy. As Marie is increasingly scrutinized, a few unexpected twists slyly work themselves into the investigation of the death, and the ice between Marie and her father slowly thaws. The prose is competent and the plot moves at a brisk pace, but the real hook is Cassella's knowing portrayal of the health industrial complex's inner workings; she knows the turf and doesn't spare readers the nasty bits. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This novel is written with a clear, even hand, and the reader feels like a part of the heady world of high-stakes surgery....[A] great read with some juicy surprises."
by Denver Post,
"[A] vibrant debut....Oxygen" is the work of a writer who is in full command of her craft. In lesser hands, the story could have bogged in medical minutiae, but Cassella never loses sight of the fact that stories are most compelling when they are about people."
by Seattle Times,
"Cassella's musings on medicine are astute and probing....The ethics of the drama, and Cassella's portrayal of the very real and contemporary flaws in our health-care system, make this novel a promising debut."
by Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River,
"In Oxygen, Carol Cassella's taut novel, Dr. Marie Heaton, an assured anesthesiologist at the top of her game, is forced to face the personal and professional fallout from an operating room disaster. Marie finds herself on the losing end of dollars-and-cents medicine in a malpractice suit, questioning herself, her skills, her colleagues, and her life choices. I couldn't wait to race to the end to see how her story played out, and I wasn't disappointed."
A compelling, complex, and riveting debut by a real-life anesthesiologist, Oxygen is at once a lyrically written medical adventure and a heartfelt drama in the tradition of Chris Bohjalian's Midwives and Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.
by Simon and Schuster,
A riveting new book that expertly combines compelling women's fiction with medical drama by a real-life anesthesiologist and student of David Guterson. Think Jodi Picoult meets Atul Gawande.
An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmers harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.
Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her universitys nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.
That all changes when Averys red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Averys college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead shes avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never couldve imagined.
In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, its anything but.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.