Foreword Reviews

(P)luck

Lessons We Learned for Improving Healthcare and the World

Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5

(P)luck is a memorable story of the work of two brothers on some of the twentieth century’s most crucial public health and bioethics issues.

Alfred and Blair Sadler’s memoir (P)luck is about their groundbreaking collaboration in the emerging field of medical ethics. It recommends steps to success for today’s aspiring change makers, too.

In the 1960s, the Sadler twins were just getting started in their respective careers in medicine and law. They became interested in medical ethics, a field where their disciplines overlapped. Few guidelines existed then to ensure the integrity of practices like cadaver research, organ donation, and the use of human beings for research. Through a combination of coincidence and dedication, the brothers became a medical-legal team, developing ethical standards for the evolving world of health care in collaboration with the National Institutes for Health and other respected agencies.

The book’s tone is optimistic and generous. The twins proclaim a hope “to inspire and motivate others who want to make positive changes in the world.” Although much of the book’s content is dedicated to their own numerous accomplishments, like drafting the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, ample credit is given to other inspiring and powerful mentors, too. A degree of luck and privilege is also acknowledged.

Both brothers published numerous articles and books for audiences ranging from the general public to legislators to medical professionals, and their experience as writers is evident here. The prose is straightforward, with smooth transitions between sections. Headings are used whenever it’s necessary for the twins to speak as individuals, but most of the book is written from the perspective of them both, as a unit. Text boxes are used to set off items of particular interest, like timelines of advances and personal stories from people who were touched by procedures like organ donation. Fresh imagery is used to illuminate people and places; stories of one mentor’s excellence are described as trailing him “like gold dust.”

In anecdotes from the days before cell phones, 911, EMTs, and physician assistants, (P)luck sets the work and memories of the brothers within the fascinating history of late twentieth century advances in medicine. As insiders who witnessed and often participated in these advances, the Sadler twins offer a comprehensive perspective on their era of medical history. As activists, they also provide credible advice for how to effect positive, systemic transformations in the twenty-first century, ending the book with a chapter titled Fifteen Lessons for Catalyzing Change.

(P)luck is a memorable story of the work of two brothers on some of the twentieth century’s most crucial public health and bioethics issues, ending with inspiring lessons for today’s change makers.

Reviewed by Michele Sharpe

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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