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The Color of Atmosphere: One Doctor's Journey in and Out of Medicine

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  18 reviews
If the medical profession you'd devoted your life to was completely taken over by liability concerns and insurance regulations, would you stay a physician?

The Color of Atmosphere tells one doctor's story and the route of her medical career with warmth, humor, and above all, honesty. As we follow Maggie Kozel from her idealistic days as a devoted young pediatrician, through
Paperback, 236 pages
Published January 29th 2011 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Jill Elizabeth
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it

This engaging memoir opens with the story of Dr. Kozel's less-than-ideal childhood, which sparked both an interest in medicine and the drive to become a doctor. Her journey to (and through) college, medical school, and residency is presented in a crisp, clear voice. The stories of her personal and professional lives intertwine; she marries a colleague (a neurologist) and at the completion of their residencies the two move to Japan to fulfill their educationa
Megan Palasik
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I won't claim to know really anything about our healthcare system (it's embarrassing, but the system is crazy confusing and I stay relatively healthy so I don't use it much) so this was rather eye opening on a basic level.

Kozel, who was raised in an alcoholic family with her siblings, rises up out of her abuse, works had, and becomes a doctor. While she does mention bits and pieces about her family throughout the book, they aren't very long and I do not think the
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I recieved this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Here are the things I liked about it:
Having come from a family of doctors, I have seen the way insurance companies and the threat of lawsuits define how physicians are allowed to (or effectively able) to practice medicine. I was not surprised about any of the stories Dr. Kozel told in this regard and enjoyed the way she brought these issues to light. Society needs to realize what doctors go through in trying to make a living, adhere to their own ethi
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
This is a story of an American Pediatrician who began practice in the 1980s when managed care became popular. Dr. Maggie Zozel grew up wanting to be a doctor and heard the mantra about changing medicine while in college. She and other students took the information in and let it roll over her without completely understanding the impact. After graduating, there were social problems already in the works. Georgetown where she hoped to study medicine jumped in tuition costs sharply from year to year ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read Maggie Kozel's memoir of her time as a medical student and pediatrician. Born in a dysfunctional family, the daughter of alcoholic parents, Maggie decided while a student in a Catholic high school that she wanted to be a doctor. We followed her through medical school, residency, the Navy, work in a community charity clinic, private practice and, finally, out of practice and into teaching.

While mostly a memoir, this book is al
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book goes a long way towards showing what the actual day to day life of a pediatrician is like. The author starts by describing her experiences as a medical student and resident in the military medical system. Then she goes on to describe the differences as she moved to a private practice. She holds strong views against the current U.S. medical system and gives many examples of how this system doesn't work for particular patients. She also describes how many doctors work the system by only ...more
Joan Countryman
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Everyone who thinks the U.S. has the best health care system in the world would do well to read The Color of Atmosphere

As Kozel describes her experience as a pediatrician - encounters with fetal distress in delivery rooms; treating children with leukemia; assisting others struggling with asthma; weekend coverage and viral infections; helping parents cope with ADHD, bed wetting, or Down syndrome – her stories will teach you that one of the challenges faced by a physician is learning to blend tru
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie is at turns brutally honest, appropriately self-effacing and humorous, and overall - brilliant. She describes the rigors of medical school, her difficult but largely rewarding years as a pediatrician in the Navy, and her transition into private practice that left much to be desired, and her surprising exit from the profession she once loved. She lets her stories do the talking - she pontificates very little about the many necessary changes our health care system requires. But her stories ...more
Mardel Fehrenbach
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dr. Kozel's accounting of how she found her calling in medicine, and her journey through medical school, residency, and into practice as a pediatrician, first in the military and later in private practice is poignant and at times heart-rending. It is also a not too subtle indictment of many of the problems with the health care system in this country. In my case Dr. Kozel was "preaching to the choir" because I already agreed with her on most issues. But her story touched my heart and forced me to ...more
Mar 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
While interesting, the author essentially spent the entire book whining, and made contradictory statements. For example, she exalts military health care as the model for good health care, but then complains that poor children get substandard health care because they don't have any continuity of care and are seen in clinics/ER's. As a Navy brat who received military health care up through age 21, I'm not sure I ever saw the same doctor twice in my life. If you were sick, you went to the ER or urg ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the journey of this OBGYN was very interesting. She was a children's doctor and loved the medicine of it all. However, the politics of insurance made it too much of a hassle to actually do what she was trained to do- treat sick people. It opened my eyes to a lot of issues in the health care industry and would have probably made me reconsider being a doctor if I had wanted that before. ...more
Marybeth Smith
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story told in honest and heart-warming fashion. Dr. Kozel truly depicts the struggle of practicing medicine with today's health care system and the frustration she felt with not being able to practice medicine as she had expected. Thus, the decision to leave her private practice and medicine to be productive and gain self-satisfaction. ...more
Liz Fidler
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an eye-opening must read. A personal account by a dedicated doctor highlighting so much of what is broken about out health care system from the point of view of those on the front lines - this book will make you think about medicine and what our delivery system is doing to those we depend on so heavily.
Shannon Baas
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. I like how it explored the various parts of a doctor's life from medical school to the frustrations and why she left the profession. it tells a lot of things you might not think about. I would definitely recommend it. ...more
Angela C
Oct 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Very educational. A little dry. But full of great, important information very relevant to America's health care challenges. ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This book provided me with insight into the issues of health care--very beneficial.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful and humorous memoir about one woman's career as a doctor and the way our current insurance, malpractice and inequitable health care system caused her to leave it. ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story about a disillusioned pediatrician. Having worked in health care I found it very believable, did not learn much, but worth reading.
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