As a book reviewer I pick my battles with care. It is far more fun to write a review about a book that I like than dislike. Medical stories tend to leave me cold, I hate trips to the hospital even to visit friends and family. The mere sight of blood makes me queasy, and that is particularly true when the blood involved belongs to Simon Barrett!

The press release for 10,000 Babies however intrigued me, I decided to reach out to Silvio Aladjen to try and learn more. He has practiced obstetrics in three continents, Eastern Europe, South America, and North America for 45 years, and accumulated more letters behind his name than would fit on a standard business card! He is also Professor Emeritus at the Michigan State University. What grabbed me most though when I talked with him was how down to earth he is. He even has a bedside manner for dealing with book reviewers. I was hooked.

10,000 Babies is anything but a boring read. Silvio Aladjem does not take the reader into the dry side of the issue, rather 10,000 Babies is a series of vignettes, some are just outright silly, some are heartwarming, some are heartbreaking, but all are a wonderful exploration into the human psyche.

On the ‘silly’ side of life is the absolutely mind bending issue of a wife coming in and declaring that it is impossible that she can be pregnant “we take the pill everyday”.  It transpired that the young lady had not read the instructions very carefully. Happily married and in a monogamous relationship she had reached the conclusion that as long as either she or her husband took the pill every day, life would be fine!

Most of the stories are of a more serious nature and all are fascinating to read. But without doubt my absolute favorite is the story of Silvio Aladjem himself, and how he entered the world of obstetrics. At the outset of his career (excuse the pun) his heart was set on becoming a cardiologist. However this all happened when cardiology was a specialty in its infancy, life saving drugs and techniques were yet to be discovered and developed. Silvio found himself disillusioned, he wanted to heal, to mend, rather than watch life slowly decay. The pendulum swung, a realization that a greater calling was to bring new life into the world rather than watch the toll of time on the human body.

OK, that might be a gross over simplification, but that is how I view it!

One thing is crystal clear, Silvio Aladjem is a man with a mission. More than a simple mission, one that has extended to over 4 decades. I am merely a layman in the subject of babies. I do remember a doctor asking me if I wished to be present when my son Paul was born. My eyes got wide and I seem to recall explaining to the good doctor that it was likely better that I pace the halls, than pass out in the delivery room!

10,000 Babies covers far more than queasy dad’s (but I would fit in), new life is a complex series of events, on occasions the level of complexity is mind boggling. There are situations where nature and hereditary issues lead to complex issues.

As a book reviewer I am bound by the strict rules imposed by the ‘Magic Circle Of  Book Reviewers’, I would be booted out of this secret society if I gave any ‘spoilers’. I will say this, 10,000 Babies is a great read.

You can order your own copy from Amazon (link above) or pick up a copy from your favorite local book store.

Simon Barrett

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