Allbooks Review, May 30, 2006
Allbooks Reviews - See all my reviewsOne of medicine's great success stories is the global eradication of smallpox. There have been no new cases of this once-dreaded disease for more than twenty-five years. But could bioterrorists bring back this killer virus? And how deadly might be its effects on an unvaccinated population? The medical thriller "Sledgehammer" presents just such a scenario. For the protagonist, emergency room director Dr. Kroose, smallpox is an important political issue. He wants assurances that his staff will be offered vaccination, while the parsimonious hospital administrators worry about the potential for litigation. Dr. Kroose is preparing to fight for his staff's welfare when Mr. Villalobos arrives in his emergency room. This obnoxious patient at first appears to have influenza. But does he? Could a hypothetical concern suddenly have become real and urgent? Dr. Paulo J. Reyes is himself an emergency room doctor in California with many years of experience. He has a thorough understanding of the risk posed by smallpox, and has been vaccinated against it. He includes enough medical details in this novel to give it authenticity, and in a useful preface explains the scientific and political background to smallpox bioterrorism. "Sledgehammer" offers a thought-provoking look at emergency-room politics and the smallpox risk, and it's also a fast-moving thriller. Share six days in the life of Dr. Kroose, and then decide for yourself about the threat of bioterrorism.