Book Review

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In his book , it shouldn't happen to a vet , James Herriot clearly tells readers about the challenges veterinarians face and the ups and downs of being a vet. Readers are given an insight into the way the daily lives of veterinarians play out. He describes the dozens of tasks he is burdened with, the inspections he has to carry out , and the cases he has to handle . It requires skill to do so much in so little time. On top of that a misdiagnosis can have extremely severe consequences . It is vital that efficiency is given just as much importance as precision and accuracy however. In the book James once cursed himself for having underestimated the time a certain task would talk . These words truly portrayed how spending too much time on one case can have a domino effect on everything else. But even as this is known and accepted there is not much vets can do to overcome this obstacle. Unlike other occupations ,vets can never be fully prepared for a case. They are knowleged individuals who are equipped with the skills and tools necessary to carry out their job. They know what the common cases are. But when they are given a case or left to make a diagnosis they don't have the time to mull over it . They have to do it there and then, unlike lawyers , for example , who have days to prepare their case. Yet losing a court case is not as severe as wrongly diagnosing an animal. They can easily come across cases that they do not know how to deal with despite years of study . In one of the earlier chapters of the book , James tries very hard to cure a cow belonging to Mr Handshaw. The cow wouldn't get up. At first James attributed this to milk fever and attempted to cure this by injecting bottles of calcium . Later when the cow still didn't get up even as dusk approached, James said the cause of this was paralysis which he said could by cure by giving the cow a stimulant injection.The next day the cow was still not up and walking, James said the cause of this was a broken pelvis. He also told Mr handshaw that there was nothing left to do. His exact words were ," I'm sorry , " I said ," but that's how it is. The only thing you can do is get her off to the butcher. She has no power in her hind legs. She'll never get up again ," . However later Mr handshaw refused to accept James' words and tried a natural remedy that did indeed work and in no time his cow was walking perfectly fine. This not only shows how difficult it is for vets to break bad news to the owners of the animals they treated but it also portrays that vets learn from experience. Despite the knowledge they may have gained from veterinary studies , it is only when they get used to treating animals that they become more proficient and skilled vets. Mr Handshaw was also angry with James when James broke the bad news to him . This highlights another challenge vets face. Not only is breaking the bad news itself hard but the person/ people on the receiving end of this bad news may react badly. They may even lash out at the vet. Sometimes reality can be harsh and hard to accept , but this does not justify lashing out at a person , in this case a vet, who tried so hard . Yet James took Mr Handshaw's cruel words in stride and did not let it affect him. Veterinarians thus need to be able to handle the fact that there will often come times when they will feel helpless and may be blamed for something they were not responsible for. This can emotionally impact a vet. A feeling that they should have done more spreads like a tumor. Seeing animals die in front of your own eyes is hard because the question , " Could I have done something more to extend the life of the animal ? " will always be there and will always remain unanswered. As aforementioned vets and doctors alike are given many tasks and work long hours. But it is the heavy emotional backpack they carry that outweighs these other tangible burdens. Even when vets know that there truly is nothing more to be done and can guarantee...
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