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12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody ChildRaising BlazeRaising Generation RxRaising Resilient ChildrenReady or Not, Here Life ComesReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRemembering Our ChildhoodResilience in ChildrenRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRunning with ScissorsRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySeeing EzraSex and the American TeenagerSex, Therapy, and KidsSexting and Young PeopleSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShort Term 12Should I Medicate My Child?SmashedSnapshots of AutismSongs Without WordsSophie Spikey Has a Very Big ProblemSpeakStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrange SonStudent DepressionSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
A Toss of the Dice is an
absorbing collection of anecdotal stories, crafted beautifully by practicing
pediatrician Dr. Natasha Hays. As explicated by Hays, the "patients"
described in the book are mainly composite characters, drawn from several
different patients presenting with similar problems. Additionally, quite a bit
of information, about Hays' professional and family life, is woven, artfully,
into the textual fabric. The tapestry of engrossing, if emotionally
drenching, anecdotes, recounted by Hays, is enshrouded, unmistakably, by an
aura of real life experiences.
Interestingly, and somewhat
unusually, the writing style employed, by Hays, commingles great sensitivity
and compassion, with blunt frankness, unadulterated candor, and, at times, even
harsh social commentary. With this brush skillfully in hand, Hays very revealingly
paints a picture of clinical pediatric medicine that is both sobering and
fascinating, and which will likely enthrall the rapt attention of parents as
well as health care professionals entrusted with treating children.
A very important lesson imparted
by this wonderful book, indeed, perhaps the most important lesson of all, is
that compassion is an indispensable part of the bond connecting health care
provider and patient. The steadfast belief of Hays, in fact, is that a doctor
simply cannot be a very good doctor, in the absence of compassion. This overarching
message reverberates distinctly through the pages of the book. Hays obviously
derives great personal and professional satisfaction, from caring for children
in a very sensitive manner. And her passion for sensitively helping her
pediatric patients permeates text.
Structurally, Hays very
frequently recounts fragments of conversations with patients. These
conversational snippets comprise an integral component of the substance of the various
stories, and unequivocally, and rather poignantly, help reveal that, although
pediatric medicine has a sort of mechanistic clinical side, it also very
importantly has an emotionally wrenching side, frequently immersed in pain,
suffering, and even death. In a manner stylistically bereft of academic
formalness, and tailored quite adroitly to finely fit lay readers, Hays
illumines some of the mechanics, of the clinical part of pediatric medicine.
Concomitantly, Hays cuts deeply to the core of the humanistic side of pediatric
medicine, drenched in the emotions of health care providers and their patients.
Hays, resolutely wielding a pen
exhibiting unabashed forthrightness fused, inseparably, with sensitivity,
composes sundry stories in twenty three chapters. In the first chapter, Hays
very frankly opines that having children is actually akin to a toss of the
dice. Because, all persons carry seeds for genetic disorders. The many
tentacles, of Hays' probing interest, extend to pithy commentary concerning her
medical school and pediatric residency experiences, and her planting of professional
roots, in the soil of a developmental evaluation clinic, in North Carolina.
Mostly, however, Hays expounds,
in a gentle, insightful, and informative way on multifarious developmental and
behavioral problems affecting children. Her far flung net ensnarls child
abuse, mental retardation, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, bipolar illness, cerebral palsy, autism,
seizures, elective mutism, and cyclic vomiting. The expansive gamut, of Hays'
wide ranging focus, encompasses further: the rather lurid mental illness
called Munchausen by proxy, hearing impairment, bullying, and terminal illness
The anecdotal observations, and accompanying
discourse, proffered by Hays, although enlighteningly suffused with luminous
insightfulness, informativeness, and sensitivity, may, however, be overdiluted,
in a substantive sense, for researchers. The academically inclined may further
carp that, although Hays may effectually convey observations and information
that is anecdotal in nature, nonetheless, the "truth", in the
tradition bound medical research world, must properly be anchored, securely, to
data emanating from double blind, placebo controlled, peer reviewed academic
studies. The relative sparseness of detail, regarding many of the anecdotes,
may be disquieting, as well.
With proper weight affixed to
the foregoing caveats, Hays' riveting descriptions, of the real life trenches
of clinical pediatric medicine, should be immensely interesting and edifying
for all parents, as well as health care professionals involved in some capacity
with the care of children, including pediatricians, geneticists, psychologists,
psychiatrists, child psychiatrists, neurologists, endocrinologists, physical
therapists, speech therapists, and genetic counselors.
© 2006 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public
health degree, from Columbia University. His area of special professional
interest is healthcare.