[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 7, 1989

Not Always on the Level

Author Affiliations

College of Medicine University of Florida Gainesville

College of Medicine University of Florida Gainesville

JAMA. 1989;261(13):1981. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420130151041

This is an autobiography of a British medical graduate who develops a manic-depressive illness. The author is the son of a north country general medical practitioner; he attended medical school in London, ultimately specializing in internal medicine (and taking an academic appointment in Canada). The idiom and terminology of most of the book are quite British, and, because of the differences in medical education, parts of the book will appear somewhat strange to the North American reader. It is quite authentic, however, and clearly reveals the trials, tribulations, and rewards of a physician struggling to make his way in post-World War II Britain. His descriptions of tuberculous meningitis in children and the use of picrotoxin in barbiturate poisoning are examples of this earlier medical era.

Much of the book concerns the author's training and experiences, punctuated liberally with his views on various medical topics such as intensive care units. Only