<em>Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings</em> by Pamela Nagami, M.D.

Bitten is essentially a collection of case studies of bites, stings, and the other indignities that are inflicted on humans by the animals with which we share our world, interspersed with descriptions of the mechanisms and chemistry by which the damage is wrought. Awesome! It is well-written and appropriately gruesome.

Things I learned: snails can kill you; if it's dangerous in the rest of the world it's probably deadly in Australia; Sharon Stone's husband was bitten by a Komodo dragon; lots of things that seem to be healing okay for the first couple of weeks then turn really ugly; American patients often don't return for follow-up care or complete their courses of medication.


Either Nagami or her editor seems excessively fond of "sic": "The child was in a semi-comatose state and only made to give unintelligible answers with difficulty [sic]." What's wrong with that? I do not know.

How about this? "So its bacteria was [sic] then inside the bone." Plural "bacteria" and singular "was", maybe? How pedantic is that? I'm think "sic" should only be used if there may be some confusion about meaning that would be cleared if the reader knew that the quote was left in its original, uncorrected form. Using sic just to prove that you are smarter than the quotee is lame.

The last one is the best: "beautiful 19 month old Rhesus Macaque ... all the paper's [sic] from his vet showing his shots are all up to date. He has never been in a lab, he was born in a private breed does not do well with children." How did they decide to sic the apostrophic error and yet leave, oh, pretty much every other word in the quote unsicced? Why not just sic the whole thing?

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