Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is a collection of connected short stories by Dr. Vincent Lam. It follows four main characters Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen through pre-med, med school, and their practice. All four, like Dr. Lam, end up being emergency doctors. This book offers a unique perspective on medicine and those who practice it. It also deals with a lot of social issues such as family expectation and general family relationship, alcoholism, cheating, and sexual abuse amongst other topics.
I think that this novel best captures what it is like to live through an epidemic. The last few stories take place during the SARS epidemic of 2002 and were my favourites. They both encapsulated the fear that the medical profession has about working during such outbreaks, while at the same time finding them interesting. it also showed very well how it is often the people who work in medical fields are the population that is most acutely affected by epidemic incidents. I found this part particularly interesting after having read Station Eleven so recently which portrays a more serious epidemic from outside the hospital.
Dr. Lam does an excellent job at uniting medicine with good story telling and strong characters. Unlike other books or television series about doctors, the characters in this book are mostly normal. They are deeply flawed and highly intelligent, but not so arrogant as doctors are sometimes portrayed.
I rated this book a 10 out of 10. I really enjoyed the complexity of the stories and how they were connected but also stood alone. I wish that we had seen more of Sri who was pushed more to the side in the drama involving Ming, but no book is perfect. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a nice quick read.