Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Michigan Author Edmund Messina "The Spattered White Coat"

“The Spattered White Coat” by Haslett author Edmund Messina MD
(CreateSpace, $14.99) is a mesmerizing collection of brief vignettes that
focus on the education and early experiences of a young doctor in the

        The 320-page, well designed, self-published trade paperback comes with an
apt warning in the brief introduction:  “This book is not for the
squeamish, because the practice of medicine is not for the squeamish.
Certain events and behaviors in this book may be quite disturbing for

        It’s not as threatening as it sounds, but it’s good to absorb it slowly.
        Messina covers a lot of territory in this first part of his
autobiographical narrative, opening with his decision to apply for
medical school at age 27.

        He went to numerous admissions offices, only to be told the same thing –
he was too old.

        At the University of Illinois College of Medicine, he had the same
rejection, but a passing secretary told him that he might qualify for an
unusual special program.

        This chance encounter changed Messina’s life – the rest of the book
details a wide variety of intriguing and sometimes heart-breaking cases
that were observed by the inquisitive student, intern and young doctor.

        Messina’s education was primarily at the Michael Reese Medical Center on
the South Side of Chicago; this once great hospital that served so many
people has now been demolished.

        In brief and interesting vignettes, Messina describes his medical school
studies and his hands-on learning experiences. He deftly adds his own
insights, sometimes with a dark sense of humor.

         He discloses many challenges, including long, difficult rotations, lack
of sleep, putting up with other frustrated students and dealing with
stubborn higher authorities.

        Messina didn’t take the easy route, dealing with everything from gun-shot
and knife wounds as well as bad infections and incurable diseases.
        The doctor had a surprising cross-section of patients, including the
destitute, gang-members, pimps and even the exceptionally wealthy, like
film star John Wayne.

         He received great instruction from inspiring professors and doctors,
leading to his successful career as a medical specialist.

        Messina and his wife Joyce jointly founded the Michigan Headache Center
in East Lansing; the neurologist is also a Clinical Associate Professor
in the College of Medicine at MSU.

        He has been involved with numerous scientific and educational projects
and has written and directed documentary and dramatic films.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed
Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on November 2, 2014.

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