Front cover of ‘The Trial of Dr. Kate’ by Michael Glasscock III, MD. Image used with permission from Michael Glasscock III, MD.
(Long Island, NY) An estimated 10 million people in the US aged 12-20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 23 million Americans are current illicit drug users. About 18 million Americans are classified with alcohol dependence abuse. All are according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
October is substance abuse prevention month.
In his book “The Trial of Dr. Kate,” Michael Glasscock III, MD explores the subject of alcoholism as it relates to a small town doctor.
“Substance abuse is a major problem in our country,” Dr. Glasscock said. “It affects all areas of society. I’m particularly concerned about doctors and nurses that are addicted. It directly affects how they treat their patients.”
Although prescription drugs are a major problem, Dr. Glasscock is particularly concerned with alcoholism.
“Alcohol is the drug of choice,” he said. “It’s readily available and socially acceptable. It’s easy to slip into addiction. Then things happen before people realize what’s going on.”
Dr. Glasscock’s concern is due to personal experience.
“I’ve seen doctors that fell into substance abuse,” he said. “And a cousin who I was very fond of was an alcoholic and drank himself to death.”
He remembers one instance in particular. “When I was an intern I was on surgery service,” he said. “I was making rounds and there was a patient that said that the medication the nurse gave him at night didn’t stop the pain. I discovered that instead of giving the patient Demerol, the nurse was mainlining the drug herself and giving the patient saline injections.”
“The Trial of Dr. Kate,” looks at a female doctor in a small town in the south in 1952. She’s the only doctor in the whole county and she’s a functioning alcoholic. People suspect this but overlook it. She blacks out often and sometimes wakes up on the side of the road and doesn’t know how she got there. Her life is turned upside down when one of her patients is found dead. The patient overdosed on Seconal, was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Colon Cancer and was in a lot of pain. There is a question of whether Dr. Kate had euthanized her as a mercy killing. Dr. Kate is jailed and because of her alcoholism can’t remember what happened. A friend of hers, Shenandoah, is an investigative reporter. Shenandoah has her own story, coming from a family that is always in trouble. She goes to Dr. Kate’s small town to try to help her. The book is the story of Shenandoah dealing with her past and trying to help Dr. Kate remember what happened.
“Alcoholism ruins professional lives,” Dr. Glasscock said. “This book looks at that issue.”
“It’s important to put substance abuse at the forefront of discussion” he said. “Education is best. A lot of people read fiction. If you describe the problem in fiction it helps bring it to the front of people’s minds. There’s also a lot of non-fiction written about drug abuse and alcoholism and we especially need to protect our children.”
“The Trial of Dr. Kate,” can be purchased at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com as well as on request at book stores.
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