The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey

The Final DiagnosisThe Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hailey was a popular author for many years with hits like Hotel and Airport, both of which were made into major films. This is one of his earliest, having been published in 1959. Like his other works, it is based on an enterprise of some sort, a hospital in this case, and is thoroughly researched. Despite its age, it is still riveting, with one crisis after another cropping up. Some of it is literally life or death and not everyone lives. In addition to all the medical plots, there are romances going on, perhaps presaging television series more familiar to modern audiences.

In places it seems dated, even cringe-worthy, but that’s likely because it is dated. For example the sole black woman mentioned in it is referred to as a Negress and speaks like a “sho’ ’nuff” Amos and Andy character. The doctors all smoke throughout the hospital, mostly cigars and pipes, and the adult women are all called girls. The romances are all love at first sight with the women calling the man darling on the first date and the man proposing on the second. Still, Hailey was probably not a bigoted person. It was a pretty accurate portrayal of what it was actually like back then. I’m old enough to remember. At least he includes one female doctor, a surgeon, no less. Chalk that up to the passage of time and enjoy the drama and good writing.

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