Thursday, March 12, 2015

FRONTIER DOCTOR: THE QUEST TO HEAL

FRONTIER DOCTOR: THE QUEST TO HEAL

By Lorrie Farrelly

Author Lorrie Farrelly
Despite a number of medical advances that came into practice during the American Civil War, such as the use of chloroform as anesthesia and new procedures in surgery, the late-19th century physician still worked under very crude conditions, especially out on the western frontier. The idea of a college-trained doctor was very new, as was the idea that disease was spread by microbes invisible to the naked eye. In western historical romance TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, young Dr. Robert Devlin, a dedicated physician and medical lecturer, insists his students follow the then-innovative, and still often ridiculed, practices of washing hands and sterilizing instruments before treating each new patient.

Even by 1885, when Rob’s story takes place, a frontier physician’s arsenal remained largely composed of the knives, forceps, drills, and saws he could use in any setting, no matter how rough, as well as the ointments, tinctures, and powders he could carry with him in his medical bag. Some remedies are still used today, such as quinine, ipecac, willow bark, and arnica. Others are now known to be useless at best and very often harmful, including the infamous 19th century “snake oils,” touted as made from real snakes. Liniments and elixirs could contain such alarming ingredients as turpentine, mercury, ammonia, kerosene, and, of course, alcohol – often in highly toxic amounts.

Despite some advances, especially in the treatment of physical injuries and trauma, the 19th century physician was still essentially helpless against life-threatening diseases and infections. Along with the widespread scourges of tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, typhus, yellow fever, and polio, one of the greatest dangers of the age was childbirth. From birth complications that put both mother and infant at risk, to the problems of hemorrhage, puerperal (childbed) fever, pre-eclampsia and toxemia, causes and treatments were understood poorly, or not at all. Antibiotics were unknown. Doctors were often at a loss to save even their own loved ones.

Terms of Engagement by Lorrie Farrelly
In TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, widower Dr. Devlin, traveling with his little daughter by train across the Wyoming frontier, answers an urgent call for help. A fellow passenger, the badly injured young mother of a toddler, has suddenly collapsed. Rob saves her life, and in turn, she rescues his heart. Now, all their lives will be forever changed – if they survive the powerful, relentless, and ruthless evil that will stop at nothing to destroy them.

A Readers’ Favorite 5-Star novel, TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT is filled with passion, sacrifice, deeply-felt emotion, and page-turning suspense.

EXCERPT:

Rob knelt beside his unresponsive young patient and drew a corked glass bottle from his medical bag. The contents, thick sediments suspended in a dark, oily liquid, were tightly stoppered.
Holding his breath, he popped the cork and gently waved the bottle half an inch beneath his patient’s nose. Despite his held breath, his eyes began to sting and water from the sharp, biting odors of ammonium, camphor, cloves, and peppermint that rose from the bottle in acrid, pungent fumes.
The woman’s eyes popped open. She gasped and began to cough, wincing in pain as the spasms wracked her battered ribs and brought her shoulders up off the bench.
Instantly, Rob recorked the bottle, set it down, and took gentle hold of his patient’s shoulders to steady her. After a moment, the coughing gave way to a few wheezing breaths, and then, exhausted, she dropped her head back down onto the bench seat. Her gaze was far away and pain-clouded. She seemed to be looking at nothing.

© by Lorrie Farrelly

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