Health Care Under Scrutiny: Are We Asking for Too Much?

"False Hopes: Why America's Quest for Perfect Health Is a Recipe for Failure"

By Daniel Callahan

Simon & Schuster


330 pages

An expert on the state of health care in America, ethicist Daniel Callahan presents a provocative argument about the future of health care. He observes that we have come to depend on modern medicine to eventually master illness and death, and "it is the wrong hope." He goes on to suggest that the health care crisis could be resolved if we aimed for a level of care that is economically affordable and, yes, not as heroic or far-reaching as we currently demand. He calls it a "sustainable" system of health care. Callahan acknowledges that such a system would demand difficult choices, but it may be a more satisfying system in the long run. This is a must-read for anyone interested in health care policy.

"The Bed Rest Survival Guide"

By Barbara Edelston Peterson

Avon Books


137 pages

This is the perfect gift for a person who has just been confined to bed for what will be a lengthy time, such as a pregnant woman or somone recovering from orthopedic surgery or injury. Written in a light, you-will-survive tone, Barbara Edelston Peterson's book suggests ways to fill the time in a satisfying manner. For example, she suggests that the bed become "command central," meaning that you can still give orders while flat on your back. She lists ways to fill the time with reading, crafts and other projects and has ideas for dealing with children while bedridden. The book also has firsthand accounts from people who have coped with lengthy stays in bed.

"Health and Healing for African Americans"

A Prevention Magazine Book edited by Sheree Crute, foreword by Dr. Joycelyn Elders

Bantam Books


582 pages

This is a packed paperback that would be a valuable addition to African American homes. It features advice from 150 black doctors on a wide range of health topics. Each condition is described in detail along with treatment information and acceptable home remedies for the condition. There is also a lot of good advice about prevention. African Americans have very high rates of serious illness and disease; this book makes special mention of those conditions and will help readers think about prevention as the most important tool for good health.

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