The Six-Liter Club
Harry Kraus, M.D.
Howard (Simon & Schuster), Apr 6 2010, $
In 1984, Dr. Camille Weller is the first black female trauma surgeon at the Medical College of Virginia. On her first day on the job, Camille quickly becomes a member of the elite Six-Liter Club; entrance is saving the life of a patient who has lost six liters of blood.
However, Weller struggles with sexism and racism as she becomes a highly regarded surgeon. She bends rules, but whenever she hits a gender, race, or national origin glass wall, she breaks through by recalling her early childhood in the Congo where her white missionary father and local resident mother died. Raised by her paternal American aunt, Camille has nightmares in which a counselor assumes they are repressed memories of her father abusing her; but could they be the horror of the terror in the Congo instead?
This is an exhilarating medical thriller that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young doctor facing several types of prejudices, as well as the horror of being orphaned in the Congo. Camille makes the story line work as she seeks her bi-continental roots while also making it as a physician. Simplicity and complexity at the same time with a deep look inside the OR, beads from East Africa and accepting or disavowing her father’s religion, Dr. Harry Kraus provides a strong Reagan Era tale.