The Antidote for Everything
By: Kimmery Martin
Published: February 20th, 2020
From the Cover:
Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.
Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers.
This book was a wild ride. There are so many things going on that it’s almost difficult to keep up. You have the major plot line where Jonah, a gay family physician, is ousted by his private, religiously-affiliated hospital due to his sexual identity and many of the patients he treats (who are transgender, gender dysphoric, and on the spectrum). Enter his best friend Georgia, a whip-smart urologist, who has only the best intentions of helping him, but instead complicates matters further. She, too, finds herself fighting to keep her job.
Next you have the romance side plot. Georgia’s specialty is men; she has spent the majority of her life learning about what makes them function and how to treat them when their bodies fail them. However, she is hopeless when it comes to falling in love with one. When she finally lets her guard down and falls for Mark, she has to hope that her currently messy and complicated life doesn’t push him away.
Weaved throughout the book is the main idea Martin tries to address: How can a hospital or health care provider withhold care from an individual on the basis of sexual or gender identity? How is this legal (which it is in many states under certain circumstances)? How is this moral? How can physicians who make the promise to “Do No Harm” purposefully withhold care on the basis of prejudice in ways that put a patient in direct harm? I found this book addressed many of these questions in ways that are thoughtful and not preachy.
It is evident that Martin feels strongly about this topic as a physician herself and a woman of faith. It is evident in the way she writes and the care she takes with her characters. It is also evident that she has a profound respect for LGBTQIA+ folks with the way she writes about this heavy topic in a way that treats her characters and their struggles with sincere sensitivity. Her afterword is evidence that the issues of discrimination in regards to health care provision are more common than many may think. When fighting for change, it is important to lift up the voices of those who are discriminated against and to make their stories heard. As someone who is going into medicine, this is something I will keep with me so I never lose sight of those who might struggle more than others to get the care they need.