I've fallen down and can't get up! Congratulations. You are w about to enter the Twilight Zone. It is a place of mind and matter, of test and retest, of drugs you cant name, and of unnecessary, painful procedures. It is your own personal journey through the space and time of modern medicine. Medical Grail is the story of Robert Bascom, a young, idealistic physician who had retreated to a small mountain top village in Italy to mourn the death of his young wife. While drinking wine in his small cottage he receives a call from the administrator of a small hospital in the middle of the Arizona desert. Corruption, incompetence and malpractice are rampant in his facility, he complains, and he pleads with Bascom to return to the US and help him correct the situation. Bascom agrees, and on his first night in town, while still suffering from jet-lag and a few too many drinks, gets an urgent call from a nurse and races to the hospital emergency room. Once in the ER he sees a physician in a white coat calmly and disinterestedly reading a newspaper at the nurses station. He turns and sees two patients in the empty ward: one is asleep on a stretcher in the corner of the room, the other, a man almost as white as the sheet covering him, is being worked on by a nurse and an EMT in a bloody uniform. He goes to the stretcher and while doing his best to save the man, asks the nurse, Did you ask Dr. Perkins to help with this patient? Yes, she replies, but he won't treat Mexicans. Medical Grail, a fictional story based upon true events, is the tale of a doctor who has traveled with patients who have made the trip, some successfully, others less so, through the maze of modern medicine. It will horrify you.
Raymond C. Andrews is an American born physician who graduated from the University of Bologna Medical School in Italy in 1970. After training in general surgery, neurosurgery, and aerospace medicine, he accepted the position as an emergency room director in a New Jersey hospital. In the late 1970s he entered private practice in California and wrote a popular series of articles on health care for the Bakersfield Californian. Other articles and comments of his have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Bergen Record, and Private Practice. While in practice he developed Drop-in-Laboratory Services to make access to medical care easier and less costly for the large number of migrant workers in his practice. Lured back to Italy by medieval castles and the opera at La Scala in 1984, Dr. Andrews worked ten years for the state health system and was the first physician to participate in the newly established Italian emergency hot-line system. After twenty-five years of medical practice on two continents, and with the regrettable certainty that patient care has taken a back seat to bureaucracy and to the questionable tactics of a few of his colleagues both here and abroad, in 1995 he accepted a position with the United States Public Health Service and was a director of a Navajo clinic on their reservation in northeastern Arizona. He was also director of the clinic's Emergency Medical Services, and a director of the National Native American Emergency Medical Services Association. Dr. Andrews is presently retired and passes his time writing, building model ships, and driving his modified Jeep and off-road camper in the Arizona desert with his wife, Jennifer.