Cover image for Code blue : a writer's guide to hospitals
Code blue : a writer's guide to hospitals
Wilson, Keith D., 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cincinnati, OH : Writer's Digest Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
312 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA963 .W54 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Two doctors (both published authors of fictional medical thrillers) provide a catalogue of the details that an aspiring novelist can use when constructing scenes in American hospitals. Avoiding stylistic or compositional advice, the material details administrative systems and procedures, medical practice, the types of personnel in a hospital, patient psychology, medical records and information systems, and medical jargon. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Author Notes

Dr. Keith Wilson is a board-certified internist specializing in diagnostic radiology and runs a private practice in Toledo, Ohio.
Dr. David Page is a board-certified surgeon, as well as Director of Undergraduate Programs in Surgery and Service Chief at Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Research is one of the fun parts of being a writer--NOT! For both fiction and nonfiction writers, research is vital to accuracy, credibility, and clarity in any written piece. Through its Behind the Scenes series, Writer's Digest Books attempts to put a lot of information, on one area, in one source. For fiction and nonfiction writers who would like to avoid paging through volumes of printed sources or surfing the Net for one elusive bit of information, these two sources might fill the bill. If there is anything as complicated as the U.S. judicial system--aside from nuclear physics--it hasn't been discovered yet. Trial lawyer Mullally has written a clear guide to the legal system, beginning with a brief history of American law and profiling the actual workings of a trial in process. Using clear charts and lists as references, Mullally profiles the court system, the major players, and how the system functions in practice. A glossary is included. A particularly useful element is "Story Ideas" for writers, culled not from fiction but from actual cases. Two board-certified physicians--one of whom is also the author of a medical thriller--combined to write the guide to hospitals from the ER to the OR. Hospitals are evidently fascinating to writers, readers, and TV viewers. Although it may seem chaotic on television, there is apparently some order to all of that commotion in the emergency room. The authors start by profiling the emergency center and move on to the operating room and intensive care unit (ICU). The pertinent medical staff are named and their roles thoroughly described. In addition to these exciting areas, the authors describe such items as medical records, medical exams, tests, and procedures. For those writers who need to know what can go wrong in a hospital, the authors also discuss medical mistakes and risk management. --Marlene Chamberlain

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Prefacep. 3
Chapter 1 Origins of the Modern Hospitalp. 7
Early Hospitals
Hospitals in Colonial America
Nineteenth-Century American Hospitals
Entering the Twentieth-Century Hospital
The Twentieth-Century Teaching Hospital
The Modern Hospital
Categories of Hospitals
Money and Mergers
Chapter 2 The Emergency Centerp. 28
The Emergency Room
The Emergency Center
The ER and the Hospital
Patient Identification and In-Hospital Tracking
Three Levels of Trauma Cases
Hospital Security
How to Handle VIPs
Closed-Circuit TV
Lethal Infections
Psychiatric Emergencies and Lockdown Units
Mass Casualties
Chapter 3 Admission to the Hospitalp. 57
Types of Admissions
Standard Admission
Short-Term Admission
Living Will
Summary of Admitting Process
Who Pays the Medical Bill?
Managed-Care Programs
The Problem With HMOs
Length of Hospitalization
Doctors Lie to Help Their Patients
HMOs Abandon the Elderly
The Future of Managed Care
Dying in the Hospital
Chapter 4 Inside the Operating Roomp. 72
Basic Principles in Surgery
The Operating Room Layout
Surgical Instruments
The Surgical Assistant
The Physical Design of an Operating Room
Overview of the Surgical Area
Specialty Operating Rooms
Surgical Bookings
Bumping Booked Surgical Cases
The Rituals of Surgery
The Anesthesiologist
The Scrub Technician
The Circulating Nurse
Rules of Conduct in the Operating Room
Teaching the Skills of Surgery
Blood Loss in the Operating Room
A Cardiac Arrest in the Operating Room
Death in the Operating Room
The Post-Anesthesia Recovery Room (PACU)
Chapter 5 The Medical Staff and Personnelp. 119
How Are Doctors Trained?
Premedical Students
Medical Students
Postgraduate Medical Education
The Internship Year
Junior and Senior Residents
Danger and Controversy of Long Work Hours
The Attending Physicians
Summary of Medical Education Requirements
The Visiting Professor
Promotion in Medical Education
Resolving Disputes
Hospital Organization
The Hospital Administrator
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
The Medical Staff and Hospital Administration
The Nurse
Nonphysician Clinicians
Technicians and Technologists
Social Workers
Hospital Orderlies and Transporters
Hospital Volunteers
Chapter 6 Patient Wards and Critical Care Units (ICUs)p. 174
Intensive Care Units (Critical Care Areas)
What Is Critical Illness?
Monitoring the Critically Ill Patient
Who Is the Intensivist?
The Intensive Care Nurse
What Does It Mean to Be Dependent Upon a Machine?
Complications of Intensive Care Unit Treatment
Triage in the Intensive Care Unit
Patient Floors and Rooms
Hospital Elevators
The Nurses' Station
Chapter 7 Medical Records, Information Services and Paging Systemsp. 212
Patient Medical Records
Keeping Medical Records
The Medical Records Department
Personnel of the Medical Records Department
The Purpose of a Medical Record
The Language of a Medical Record
The Day-to-Day Medical Record
Other Patient-Related Hospital Records
Incident Reports
Medical Records Security
Releasing Medical Records
Confidential Medical Information
Information Services
Chapter 8 Mistakes, Complications and Accidentsp. 238
Fixing the Problem
Chapter 9 Exams, Tests and Proceduresp. 267
MRI Scan
CT Scan
Nuclear Medicine
Interventional and Diagnostic Angiography
Flexible Fiber-Optic Endoscopy
Appendix I Medical Jargon: Doctor Slang Decodedp. 279
Appendix II Understanding the Prescription Padp. 283
Appendix III Termiology of Medical Care and Health Care Regulationsp. 288
Appendix IV Medical Terminologyp. 302