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Maneater: And Other True Stories of a Life in Infectious Diseases

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Most of us think nothing of that salad for lunch, that insect bite, that swim in the sea; yet these all bring human beings into contact with dangerous, even deadly microorganisms. In Maneater, Nagami discusses the shocking and amazing cases of bacterial and viral infections she has encountered in her career as an infectious disease specialist. Through personal accounts, sh Most of us think nothing of that salad for lunch, that insect bite, that swim in the sea; yet these all bring human beings into contact with dangerous, even deadly microorganisms. In Maneater, Nagami discusses the shocking and amazing cases of bacterial and viral infections she has encountered in her career as an infectious disease specialist. Through personal accounts, she reveals the facts about some of the deadliest diseases: the warning signs, treatments, and most compellingly, what it feels like to make the medical and ethical decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.


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Most of us think nothing of that salad for lunch, that insect bite, that swim in the sea; yet these all bring human beings into contact with dangerous, even deadly microorganisms. In Maneater, Nagami discusses the shocking and amazing cases of bacterial and viral infections she has encountered in her career as an infectious disease specialist. Through personal accounts, sh Most of us think nothing of that salad for lunch, that insect bite, that swim in the sea; yet these all bring human beings into contact with dangerous, even deadly microorganisms. In Maneater, Nagami discusses the shocking and amazing cases of bacterial and viral infections she has encountered in her career as an infectious disease specialist. Through personal accounts, she reveals the facts about some of the deadliest diseases: the warning signs, treatments, and most compellingly, what it feels like to make the medical and ethical decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.

30 review for Maneater: And Other True Stories of a Life in Infectious Diseases

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Dunckley

    “You have a worm in your brain.” Can you imagine being told that? And can you imagine if that were the best possible choice out of the possible diagnoses? This is just the beginning, of just one of the diseases that make this book terrifying and fascinating at the same time. The author, Dr. Pamela Nagami, is an infectious disease specialist—illnesses that people “catch”. Many of the chapters deal with someone who was exposed to something and that started a whirlwind of issues that science is una “You have a worm in your brain.” Can you imagine being told that? And can you imagine if that were the best possible choice out of the possible diagnoses? This is just the beginning, of just one of the diseases that make this book terrifying and fascinating at the same time. The author, Dr. Pamela Nagami, is an infectious disease specialist—illnesses that people “catch”. Many of the chapters deal with someone who was exposed to something and that started a whirlwind of issues that science is unable to keep up with despite round the clock care. The terrifying parts are that you can catch a life threatening disease so easily—and that no matter what is done to treat you, you might still die. One man gets Chicken Pox from his kids and is brought to the ER with blood and pus covering every inch of his skin. His skin is now letting in Staph bacteria. His kidneys are failing. He has pneumonia. Chicken Pox lesions are on his internal organs—his liver is covered with them, and his stomach wall is eaten through and peritonitis has started. Lesions in his trachea are making the skin slough off and blocking his airway. Multiple bacteria and fungus invade every system. A previously healthy and fit 40 year old man dies of a children's disease. Nothing the doctors do can save him. Another man gets Valley Fever—an illness caused by a fungus in the dust in certain parts of California and Arizona, like Simi Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield, Tuscon and Phoenix. Most people have a few days of a mild flu like feeling and it goes away and they are immune. Some people end up with a horrible, chronic, and fatal pneumonia or meningitis. The treatments are almost as bad as the disease—brain shunts and spinal injections. Other chapters deal with Flesh Eating Strep, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, Measles that attacks the central nervous system, etc. While this is not the book for the squeamish, it is scary and fascinating for those interested in science or weird and rare diseases. Really enjoyable read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I was having trouble settling in with an audiobook while doing invoicing & found this one. It was an interesting & quick (about 3 hours) look at a doctor's experiences with infectious diseases & some pretty scary ones at that (Valley Fever, a tapeworm in the brain, a very gnarly case of chicken pox into staph infection...)😱 I wouldn't recommend it over lunch or for the very squeamish but it was fascinating (albeit pretty gross) in parts. I was having trouble settling in with an audiobook while doing invoicing & found this one. It was an interesting & quick (about 3 hours) look at a doctor's experiences with infectious diseases & some pretty scary ones at that (Valley Fever, a tapeworm in the brain, a very gnarly case of chicken pox into staph infection...)😱 I wouldn't recommend it over lunch or for the very squeamish but it was fascinating (albeit pretty gross) in parts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    An interesting collection of stories from a doctor of infectious disease. Skip if you're queasy, otherwise enjoy. An interesting collection of stories from a doctor of infectious disease. Skip if you're queasy, otherwise enjoy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    The author, Pamela Nagami, an infectious disease medical doctor, presents interesting medical cases in each chapter of this book. Each case is written as a medical mystery which keep the reader's interest through the often frightening and gory details. Unfortunately as you might expect some of the cases end with the death of the patient despite the medical community's best efforts. Unlike her other books, this one includes a lot of details on her life which adds a human element to soften the dif The author, Pamela Nagami, an infectious disease medical doctor, presents interesting medical cases in each chapter of this book. Each case is written as a medical mystery which keep the reader's interest through the often frightening and gory details. Unfortunately as you might expect some of the cases end with the death of the patient despite the medical community's best efforts. Unlike her other books, this one includes a lot of details on her life which adds a human element to soften the difficult cases presented. Nagami often adds historical information to provide the reader with a context to understand how treatments have improved over time. I highly recommend all of Nagami's books, but they definitely are not for the squeamish.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    With a more personal slant than Bitten, much of the author's own life is recounted within this collection of chapters, each highlighting a different deadly disease. Some of these case-studies do end happily, but prepare yourself for not all of them to do so. In many ways, this reminded me of that television show House, and at times I actually stopped and wondered if the writers for that show sourced this book as some of the cases seemed verbatim for episodes. Entertaining, albeit in a frightenin With a more personal slant than Bitten, much of the author's own life is recounted within this collection of chapters, each highlighting a different deadly disease. Some of these case-studies do end happily, but prepare yourself for not all of them to do so. In many ways, this reminded me of that television show House, and at times I actually stopped and wondered if the writers for that show sourced this book as some of the cases seemed verbatim for episodes. Entertaining, albeit in a frightening way, the book raised issues and warnings about diseases I had not been aware of before. Not for an alarmist or anyone with so much as a touch of hypochondria though...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I found the author rather arrogant at times during this book. I was hoping for more on each patient and each disease, but instead she would spend a lot of time describing things like how "rotund" a patient's mother was, or what book she was reading to her child on the day she saw the patient that the story in question was about. I think I wanted a bit more science/microbiology with each story. as others have mentioned the stories were not about exotic cases/diseases, which I would have enjoyed r I found the author rather arrogant at times during this book. I was hoping for more on each patient and each disease, but instead she would spend a lot of time describing things like how "rotund" a patient's mother was, or what book she was reading to her child on the day she saw the patient that the story in question was about. I think I wanted a bit more science/microbiology with each story. as others have mentioned the stories were not about exotic cases/diseases, which I would have enjoyed reading more about since they are not discussed very often. I think I was expecting Monsters Inside Me but in book form from this one, oh well, it still kept me entertained for a bit.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    fascinating, made me want to become a doctor all of a sudden! also made me quite scared of germs and anything worm-related!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is the same book as "The Woman with a Worm in Her Head." See that review. This is the same book as "The Woman with a Worm in Her Head." See that review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    A bit dry, but still the cases were pretty fascinating.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Sanchez

    So this job sounds terrifying. And heartbreaking. And fascinating.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Boy, there are some scary disease out there! Some of them live inside you & do you no harm - until they do. Thank goodness there are doctors & medicine to help fight them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I've had another book by Dr. Nagami on my tbr for ages, but this is the one my library had, so this is the one I picked up. Maneater is, as it says, true stories of infectious diseases. It's certainly lighter than a lot of the books I read -- there's only a bibliography, not a notes section, and it's not a third of the book! It's very much more along the lines of medical mystery TV shows or magazine columns rather than a super in-depth or academic text, and it's very readable. Nagami's stated mi I've had another book by Dr. Nagami on my tbr for ages, but this is the one my library had, so this is the one I picked up. Maneater is, as it says, true stories of infectious diseases. It's certainly lighter than a lot of the books I read -- there's only a bibliography, not a notes section, and it's not a third of the book! It's very much more along the lines of medical mystery TV shows or magazine columns rather than a super in-depth or academic text, and it's very readable. Nagami's stated mission is to increase awareness of the warning signs and risk factors of the diseases she covers in the book, in hopes that she can encourage people to be aware of symptoms and come in early enough for their lives to be saved. I hope that the book was successful in its mission! It's certainly a very easy read, and I feel that I know more than I did before. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes kind of gross medical stuff. Dr. Nagami is an engaging writer, and I liked the way she balanced cases with personal life -- it helped me have a fuller understanding of her as a doctor, and how difficult it is to balance the sorts of cases she worked on with the difficulties of raising young kids. 

  13. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    A lot of fascinating cases, to be honest. Read this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the section that the author details about the AIDS crisis is eye-opening. But the author's writing is a little... detached. Even in spots where she is trying to be empathetic with her patients. There are a few touching moments (the AIDS passage is well-done, but I suspect because the case is the most personal to the author), but it just feels like a highlights reel. The stories are the bare ones type you'd see i A lot of fascinating cases, to be honest. Read this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the section that the author details about the AIDS crisis is eye-opening. But the author's writing is a little... detached. Even in spots where she is trying to be empathetic with her patients. There are a few touching moments (the AIDS passage is well-done, but I suspect because the case is the most personal to the author), but it just feels like a highlights reel. The stories are the bare ones type you'd see in a newspaper. I wanted more details both on the human side and the science side. Overall interesting, and good for a casual reader who in interested in medical stories, but those with a little more time to read will find the tales lacking.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    Good news guys... there are arguably worse diseases than Covid. Maybe not the best read for a germaphobe hypochondriac but really fascinating. Dr. Nagami was there when Aids started and she's treated the most bizarre illnesses. Good news guys... there are arguably worse diseases than Covid. Maybe not the best read for a germaphobe hypochondriac but really fascinating. Dr. Nagami was there when Aids started and she's treated the most bizarre illnesses.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Pretty much like a collection of medical mystery columns, a genre I enjoy. Nothing like it to make you feel grateful for all the small miracles that keep our bodies functioning

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ravenclaw

    دكتورة أمراض معدية تتكلم عن قصص حقيقية صارت مع مرضاها مع جائحة كورونا صارت عندي الرغبة بقراءة كتب مثل هالنوع🥰

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Audible Audiobook

  18. 5 out of 5

    Serenity

    Scary stuff. Good quick read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This book had interesting stories about the author's life as an Infectious Disease specialist. All I didn't enjoy was her interspersing the stories with information about what she did with her family. I think this was to let us know that she was doing medicine as part of her full life in a family, but I was not interested in that. This book had interesting stories about the author's life as an Infectious Disease specialist. All I didn't enjoy was her interspersing the stories with information about what she did with her family. I think this was to let us know that she was doing medicine as part of her full life in a family, but I was not interested in that.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    Also read Maneater and Other True Stories of a Life in Infectious Diseases by Pamela Nagami, MD. I initially picked this up because it seemed medically gruesome, like the kind of horror story I prefer, but I actually found the book a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more exotic ailments but the majority were ones I already knew about. That and it’s hard to say but her “aha” doctor moment came after watching an abortion procedure and it seemed somewhat antichoice-ish, though I can’t tell. It w Also read Maneater and Other True Stories of a Life in Infectious Diseases by Pamela Nagami, MD. I initially picked this up because it seemed medically gruesome, like the kind of horror story I prefer, but I actually found the book a bit disappointing. I was hoping for more exotic ailments but the majority were ones I already knew about. That and it’s hard to say but her “aha” doctor moment came after watching an abortion procedure and it seemed somewhat antichoice-ish, though I can’t tell. It was one of those, “Wait, did she mean… hmm…” moments. Oh, and the writing is crap. All in all I think the book had potential but fell flat.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Enjoyable - but honestly, I didn't need to know so much about the author. I would have been much more interested in learning more details about the case studies. Enjoyable - but honestly, I didn't need to know so much about the author. I would have been much more interested in learning more details about the case studies.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Kind of Gruesome....but I'm interested in not heard of diseases... Kind of Gruesome....but I'm interested in not heard of diseases...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan Edwards

    Finally picked this up from Bookcloseouts.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason Price

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alice Newton

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karls D. A.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Judy Morgida

  29. 4 out of 5

    Molly Ezzell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Rappelt

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