From Bloodletting to Binary
A Small Hospital in Rhode Island
An Extraordinary Era in American Medicine
A second book from E.B. McKee, MD
E. B. McKee’s first book, DOC, chronicles adventures before, during, and after graduating from the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in 1961.
His self-deprecating and humorous style continues in Bloodletting to Binary. We rejoin McKee’s medical journey upon his entrance into the USAF. In 1970, following his military discharge, with a wife, three children, and paltry bank balance, he establishes a private practice in southern Rhode Island.
McKee’s career spans an era when medicine undergoes fundamental changes: from leeches to computer diagnostics, DNA testing, and robotic surgery. Vignettes capture South County Hospital’s bare-bone beginnings: rudimentary x-ray capability, a borrowed EKG machine, and limited lab resources.
Growth from a converted private home to the gleaming edifice that exists today are fondly recalled.
Hospital politics are on display. Watch the cadre of entrenched, older physicians circle the wagons to protect the status quo and slow the advance of specialist interlopers. Patients resist change too, fiercely loyal to the doctors who delivered their babies, performed their surgeries, set broken bones, and took care of their kids.
Bloodletting to Binary is a physician’s behind-the-scenes story of irascible colleagues; hospital dramas; and unforgettable patients, while offering a snapshot of a transformational period in American medicine.
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