- AUTHOR – James Essinger & Sandra Koutzenko
- PUBLISHER – The History Press
- PAGES – 288
- SUBJECTS – History, Medical
Thalidomide, patented in Germany as a non-toxic cure-all for sleeplessness and morning sickness. A wonder drug with no side affects. We know different now. Today Thalidomide is a byword for Tragedy and drug reform – a sign of what happens when things aren’t done the right way. but when it was released in the 1950’s, it was the best thing since penicillin. Something that doctors were encouraged to prescribe all their patients. Nobody could anticipate what it actually did: induce sleeping, prevent morning sickness, and drastically harm unborn children. But while Thalidomide rampaged and ravaged through most of the west , it never reached the U.S. it landed on the desk of Doctor Frances Kelsey, and there it stayed as she battled bureaucracy, patriarchy and the establishment in an effort to prove that is was dangerous. Frankie is her story.
When I started reading this book I didn’t realise it was a true story, and was instantly drawn and hooked to the story of the Thalidomiders. The deformed people who were a victim of what was known as the so called wonder drug in the 50’s. This book has actually taught me quite a bit about medicine and how it all kind of works, which I do love learning new things that actually matter. So I think it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The book started off very touching, hearing a few stories from the victims of Thalidomide, one particular horrifying part for me was the fact that just after giving birth to a child who had been affected by the drug, the nurses would tell the new mother she could go home but just to leave the baby there because it probably wouldn’t survive. That was pretty heartbreaking for me.
I was also very touched by the story of Louise and how she had become homeless but was far too proud to ask anyone for help and just remained homeless until her money came in, now I’ve actually lived one night on the street, well my sisters doorstep after accidentally being locked out for a night and I do hold my hat off to her because I couldn’t have lasted more than one night.
I found very interesting how the FDA approve drugs and was honestly pretty mortified to find that if the agent they have been passed to does not see it in the recommended time, due to holiday or illness the drug is automatically approved.
I also found extremely interesting how they came across other drugs such as insulin and also penicillin and since reading this book I have actually found that I now understand diabetes and how it works where as before I could never get my head around it.
This book is definitely worth the read, for well just about anyone to be honest. I wouldn’t have thought it would be a book I would have liked but I throughly enjoyed it