by Beth Alison Maloney
'Consideration should be given for making this book mandatory reading at all US medical schools,' physician Kevin Price comments after having read Saving Sammy. The surgeon also points out that doctors are prone to hubris. Few know this better than Beth Maloney, whose cry for help was rejected by many medics. Maloney told those doctors about her 12-year-old son's almost overnight change from being an intelligent, happy boy into someone whose life of compulsions - high-stepping over imaginary barriers, not eating, refusing to use the bathroom, difficulty in walking upstairs, contorting his body into L shapes - meant he was unable to leave the house. First diagnosed with obsessive compulsive behaviour then Tourette's Syndrome, the boy is almost as relieved as his mother when a family friend offers a possible reason for his condition: mental illness caused by streptococcus. It is curable, but Sammy's treatment is not an instant success. Unfortunately Tavia Gilbert, who reads the book, has a thin, unappealing voice, but this is a story that needs to be heard.