What Cannot Be Undone: True Stories of a Life in Medicine
Nonfiction by Walter M. Robinson
University of New Mexico Press, February 2022
Paperback, 176pp; $19.95
Winner of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, What Cannot Be Undone is Walter M. Robinson’s debut essay collection. In it, he shares surprising stories of illness and medicine that do not sacrifice hard truth for easy dramatics. These true stories are filled with details of difficult days and nights in the world of high-tech medical care, and they show the ongoing struggle in making critical decisions with no good answer. This collection presents the raw moments where his expertise in medical ethics and pediatrics are put to the test. He is neither saint, nor hero, nor wizard. Robinson admits that on his best days he was merely ordinary. Yet in writing down the authentic stories of his patients, Robinson discovers what led him to the practice of medicine—and how his idealism was no match for the realities he faced in modern health care.