This is the story of Cynthia Birrer, who towards the end of 1974 realized that she was ill and consulted a doctor. A year later she was a little more than an invalid, unable to hold down the teaching job she loved, unnerved by a bewildering array of symptoms for which no satisfactory explanation could be advanced and for which no adequate treatment was given, crippled by pain that was the direct result of a totally unnecessary medical test performed on her. This is the story of only one woman, but what is unsettling about it is that it could happen to others too. For what guarantee has the sick person that the doctor who is treating him is competent, that he exercises due care in prescribing medicines and treatment, that he really cares? This book is no indictment of the medical profession, it is no attempt to start a crusade against the members of this group. It is instead an earnest and genuine attempt to spark off responsible debate on the grave moral, social, legal and medical issues that the conduct of the case raises. Cynthia Birrer is someone with a remarkable story to tell, and she tells it exceedingly well. But what is most remarkable is the indomitable courage and the will to live a meaningful life that shine through it all. AUTHOR BIO: Cynthia Birrer studied psychology and education at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, Philadelphia, and obtained her B.Ed. degree cum laude and M.A. in psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She was a member of the academic staff in the Department of Education at this university from 1971 to 1976. With the untimely termination of her academic career, Birrer has turned to writing. The author has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe, studying infant care and early childhood education as far afield as Hungary and Australia. She has found that her travels have served to deepen her roots in Southern Africa and her commitment to all its peoples.
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