Dr. John Brock-Utne’s Clinical Research, Case Studies of Successes and Failures is a unique and valuable addition to the medical literature, and a must-have handbook for medical school faculty members of all ages and seniority.

Dr. Brock-Utne is a Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University, and an experienced and accomplished academician. His book is a treatise on how to create significant clinical research studies, and how to get those studies published.

Faculty members in academic medical centers have long been evaluated by a “Publish or Perish” mentality. Publishing significant papers in prominent medical journals is expected if a faculty member wants to solidify his or her job security, or to gain tenure at a university.

A Google search for “Clinical research guidebooks” reveals a paucity of competing books. Brock-Utne’s Clinical Research, Case Studies of Successes and Failures is to date the only manual written by a medical professor for this purpose. Just as many prominent business and law schools teach by the case study method, Brock-Utne follows the same technique. Each book chapter presents a question regarding clinical research, posed in Socratic manner, based on the author’s actual experience,. A discussion of the answer follows. This format makes for easy and thoughtful reading, and effective assimilation of the desired knowledge.

Dr. Brock-Utne speaks from experience. A PubMed search documents that he has 271 publications to date, spanning 46 years from 1971-2017.

The three appendixes at the conclusion of the book sum up the major content in concise form. Appendix A (Review of the Clinical Research Process From Beginning to End), Appendix B (The Future of Clinical Research), and Appendix C (Summary Pearls) deserve reading and rereading until the pages are dog-eared.

This book is an essential addition to the library of faculty members of any department or medical specialty. The future of medicine requires the grooming of well-informed, talented researchers. Hopeful researchers need a how-to guide of the outstanding caliber of John Brock-Utne’s Clinical Research, Case Studies of Successes and Failures.



Published in September 2017:  The second edition of THE DOCTOR AND MR. DYLAN, Dr. Novak’s debut novel, a medical-legal mystery which blends the science and practice of anesthesiology with unforgettable characters, a page-turning plot, and the legacy of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.


In this debut thriller, tragedies strike an anesthesiologist as he tries to start a new life with his son.

Dr. Nico Antone, an anesthesiologist at Stanford University, is married to Alexandra, a high-powered real estate agent obsessed with money. Their son, Johnny, an 11th-grader with immense potential, struggles to get the grades he’ll need to attend an Ivy League college. After a screaming match with Alexandra, Nico moves himself and Johnny from Palo Alto, California, to his frozen childhood home of Hibbing, Minnesota. The move should help Johnny improve his grades and thus seem more attractive to universities, but Nico loves the freedom from his wife, too. Hibbing also happens to be the hometown of music icon Bob Dylan. Joining the hospital staff, Nico runs afoul of a grouchy nurse anesthetist calling himself Bobby Dylan, who plays Dylan songs twice a week in a bar called Heaven’s Door. As Nico and Johnny settle in, their lives turn around; they even start dating the gorgeous mother/daughter pair of Lena and Echo Johnson. However, when Johnny accidentally impregnates Echo, the lives of the Hibbing transplants start to implode. In true page-turner fashion, first-time novelist Novak gets started by killing soulless Alexandra, which accelerates the downfall of his underdog protagonist now accused of murder. Dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the insults hurled between Nico and his wife are as hilarious as they are hurtful: “Are you my husband, Nico? Or my dependent?” The author’s medical expertise proves central to the plot, and there are a few grisly moments, as when “dark blood percolated” from a patient’s nostrils “like coffee grounds.” Bob Dylan details add quirkiness to what might otherwise be a chilly revenge tale; we’re told, for instance, that Dylan taught “every singer with a less-than-perfect voice…how to sneer and twist off syllables.” Courtroom scenes toward the end crackle with energy, though one scene involving a snowmobile ties up a certain plot thread too neatly. By the end, Nico has rolled with a great many punches.

Nuanced characterization and crafty details help this debut soar.

Click on the image below to reach the Amazon link to The Doctor and Mr. Dylan:







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