LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS - A Guide to Recovery, St George Lee, MD, Dragon Press, Newport News, VA, Produced by Five Star Publications, Inc, Chandler, AZ, 2000, 181 pp, $22, ISBN: 0-9679881-0-1.

Review by Del Meyer, MD

Once while I was seeing a patient in the Emergency Department, several nurses were viewing pictures of a farewell party. When asked who the guest of honor was, I received an incredulous look, "Why that’s Sammy. She’s the nurse that really enjoyed sex." Not recognizing the nurse or being use to that sort of effrontery, I returned my attention to completing my emergency dictation.

While working on a record on the medical floor, a nurse returned to the desk remarking to the others standing there that she had gone into the utility room to obtain an emesis basin and walked in on a clerk showing off her augmented mammoplasty. She had a goal of showing them privately to every doctor on the staff. Seeing her with a married physician later, I was informed that his wife did not take kindly to that sort of exposure, and he is now paying lifelong alimony.

Dr Michael Crichton gives us the scenario in Disclosure about a female boss trying to seduce a male employee "for old time’s sake." When her advances were resisted, she sues for sexual harassment stating that a woman can say no anytime prior to the consummation of intercourse, but for a man to say no, is a hostile act. Men, she argues, are unable to say no after arousal.

Now comes St George T Lee, MD, who tells it all. Dr Lee was a highly respected cardiologist who practiced in a hospital setting. He states he had at least 20 affairs during his career. They were all with his office or hospital staff. When he started calling employees at home, he was given a warning by hospital administration. When he called another one at her home and asked to "see’ her, he was disciplined with a four-week leave of absence in 1991. This then brought his infidelity to his wife’s attention, and he confessed all to her. As he was working on his relationship with his wife, he resumed a previous affair and, in 1996, made an impulsive pass at yet another hospital employee who reported him to hospital administration. He was then forced into a four-month treatment program for compulsive sexual behavior and addiction.

At this point he thought he had conquered his addiction and had found God, but the hospital disappointed him by not allowing him to resume practicing. He hired a lawyer and appealed to no avail. He found that other hospitals in the area also denied him privileges. After two years of fighting to practice, he finally gave up. He continues to work on his relationship with his wife while working through a Twelve Step recovery program. His relationship with his three grown daughters, however, has suffered more.

In this book, Lee candidly chronicles his personal path to recovery. He feels this will be helpful to anyone in recovery from any addiction. The problem is quite prevalent. It reminded me of the cardiologist in this community caught on video late one evening having sex with his nurse on the cath table after performing a catheterization. I’m not sure who or what happened subsequently. But Dr Lee shows what can happen.

Maybe Moses was right – just don’t. And if you did or do, you might want to read this book to try to understand why you don’t wanna. Before it’s too late. Moses didn’t give us any exceptions. Maybe there aren’t any.