New York Times best-selling author Tom Mueller very well could be rocking the foundations of many a corporate boardroom with this book. From two schools of thought on how kidney dialysis should be run back in the '70's, Seattle vs. Boston - a titanic battle, to the present day the author takes us on a journey across the landscape (hellscape?) that is modern kidney dialysis. Add in a history of how modern dialysis came about before the advent of things like for-profit dialysis and we see how a miracle of medicine can be corrupted by greed and smokescreens, blinding us to the fact that kidney dialysis is an area of medicine hampered by a severe lack of choice! (much like utilities in this writer's opinion - can you flip a switch when tired of your old electric company? Nope - much like kidney dialysis patients trying to change clinics)
After an intro, the book starts way back with a story of the primal 'Inner Sea'. It then ends the 2nd chapter with things like quick intros to a couple of leading nephrologists (doctors Leonard Stern and John Agar)- and the mortality rates here (US), and other parts of world (it should get your attention). These nephrologists will appear again and again throughout the book.
From there we are introduced to patients and what must be the worst of patient abuses - terminations. And we also meet somebody else who will be seen throughout the book - former dialysis tech Arlene Mullin. She rose from the ashes to fight patient terminations and many times she was the person who rounded up help to stop patients from certain death! (full disclosure, Arlene is someone this writer has known for over twenty years - honored to know her) We also see staff as victims who are seen falling by the wayside of what has been called 'fast, assembly line medicine'. All to the beat of a showboating CEO who seems to be more interested in cheer leading than actual medicine. As you will see in the book he might not be the worst of lot. (hard to believe)
We become acquainted with people like Dr. Pim Kolff, inventor of one of the first dialysis machines, and Dr. Belding Scribner who invented a patient access that allowed a ramp-up in dialysis for longer term care. Dr. Scribner by the way helped head up the Seattle group that nearly put the kabosh on for-profit dialysis. The people I've mentioned so far are just a few of those who will shock. but maybe inspire you to action!
However the meat of this book for this writer were the horrific patient and staff abuses, and scandals that have been allowed to persist for decades! All for outrageous prices! But this is balanced by rays of hope seen at the end of the book!!
Not sure what we have had, and currently have, is what Nixon (as comedian John Oliver said, "Yes, NIXON!") envisioned when he signed the bill bringing dialysis to anybody who needed it, into law.
Tom Mueller's book out now!