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Download The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease epub

by Pamela Nagami M.D.,F. Gonzalez-Crussi

A normal, healthy woman becomes host to a pork tapeworm that is burrowing into her brain and disabling her motor abilities.

A handsome man contracts Chicken Pox and ends up looking like the victim of a third degree burn.

A vigorous young athlete is bitten by an insect and becomes a target for flesh-eating strep.

Even the most innocuous everyday activities such as eating a salad for lunch, getting bitten by an insect, and swimming in the sea bring human beings into contact with dangerous, often deadly microorganisms. In The Woman with a Worm in Her Head, Dr. Pamela Nagami reveals-through real-life cases-the sobering facts about some of the world's most horrific diseases: the warning signs, the consequences, treatments, and most compellingly, what it feels like to make medical and ethical decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.

Unfailingly precise, calmly instructive, and absolutely engrossing, The Woman with the Worm in Her Head offers both useful information and enjoyable reading.

Download The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease epub
ISBN: 0312306016
ISBN13: 978-0312306014
Category: Science
Subcategory: Biological Sciences
Author: Pamela Nagami M.D.,F. Gonzalez-Crussi
Language: English
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (December 1, 2002)
Pages: 288 pages
ePUB size: 1632 kb
FB2 size: 1792 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 928
Other Formats: mobi mbr doc azw

“You have a worm in your brain.” Can you imagine being told that? And can you imagine if that were the best possible choice out of the possible diagnoses? This book is terrifying and fascinating at the same time. The author, Dr. Pamela Nagami, is an infectious disease specialist—illnesses that people “catch”. Many of the chapters deal with someone who was exposed to something and that started a whirlwind of issues that science is unable to keep up with despite round the clock care. The terrifying parts are that you can catch a life threatening disease so easily—and that no matter what is done to treat you, you might still die.

One man gets Chicken Pox from his kids and is brought to the ER with blood and pus covering every inch of his skin. His skin is now letting in Staph bacteria. His kidneys are failing. He has pneumonia. Chicken Pox lesions are on his internal organs—his liver is covered with them, and his stomach wall is eaten through and peritonitis has started. Lesions in his trachea are making the skin slough off and blocking his airway. Multiple bacteria and fungus invade every system. A previously healthy and fit 40 year old man dies of a children's disease. Nothing the doctors do can save him.

Another man gets Valley Fever—an illness caused by a fungus in the dust in certain parts of California and Arizona, like Simi Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield, Tuscon and Phoenix. Most people have a few days of a mild flu like feeling and it goes away and they are immune. Some people end up with a horrible, chronic, and fatal pneumonia or meningitis. The treatments are almost as bad as the disease—brain shunts and spinal injections.

Other chapters deal with Flesh Eating Strep, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, Measles that attacks the central nervous system, etc.

While this is not the book for the squeamish, it is scary and fascinating for those interested in science or weird and rare diseases. Really enjoyable read!
“It started four days ago, on Monday. I felt a little tired…”

Andy, the person quoted above, didn’t realize that on his business trip to Cote d’Ivoire the week before, he’d caught a pretty nasty virus—one that would cause him to narrowly escape death. Fortunately, he’d walked into the right hospital, and into the care of Dr. Pamela Nagami, a medical “Columbo” of her field—infectious diseases.

“Often I work like a detective, sifting through the evidence other doctors give me: the patients’ symptoms, their lab tests, where they went on vacation.” Through a series of medical short stories, Nagami relates some of her most perplexing cases, including the process of identifying and treating the diseases. She’s very personable! Not only does she explain the incubation and attack mode cycles of parasites and viruses in layman’s terms, but she also reminds the reader that doctors have lives and families away from the hospital, and it’s the delicate balance of all these that made me appreciate how much doctors sacrifice for the greater good.

Nagami also included historical information about certain diseases and viruses, which was extremely helpful. These ranged from Valley Fever and The Flesh Eating Bacteria all the way to AIDS and Ebola. My absolute favorite story was “Tracking a Worm”. It made my skin crawl, but I loved it! “To track a worm, you have to find the place where the life cycle of the worm becomes part of the life cycle of the human host.” That we did! I felt like I was right there with her, ordering blood tests and poring over parasite reference books. I’m not exactly sure what this sub genre of books is called, but I feel like the marriage of suspense, mystery, science (and even horror), can be a pretty addictive combination. I can’t wait to get started on her next book—Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings.
I went through this book very fast (didn't get around to writing the review though). It was fascinating. Nagami is an infectious disease doctor in Los Angeles and in this book, she writes about some of her cases. She writes well, drawing her readers into these patient's lives, and how the doctors desperately try to find treatment to save them. These are all cases of diseases that people mostly got here in the United States. Sometimes we think we are protected from infectious diseases in this country, and many of the ones in this book sound foreign to us, but they can happen given the right circumstances...and they can lead to death. Some of these infections happened after really dumb things like someone eating raw food in a foreign country on a dare, others get bacteria from a sore throat or a dental problem that lead to heart valve problems which can be deadly, another person managed in this day and age to get a tapeworm in her brain from uncooked pork (which is surprising considering all the antibiotics they pump into the animals now).
Each of these stories are told with a lot of concern for the patients, whether they lived or died...which really made an impression on me of the kind of doctor that Nagami is. She said she learned to dampen her emotional involvement in patients to an extent, but she still cares about them and puts a lot of time and effort into them (more than most doctors do).

ONe of the best books of this type I've read in a long time...wish there had been more stories!
A great introduction covering the problematic issues with antibiotic resistance, transplant resistant and an intensive look at some of worst (still) incurable diseases rampant in the developing world,
Told through the eyes of a Dr
her stories cover the gamut of some unorthodox methods of treatment, and the race to destroy the resistance to many drug-resistant diseases,
This book should be mandatory reading for any student of medicine, especially Infectious Disease Specialists.
An excellent, compelling read.