The Six-Liter Club
Camille Weller has arrived as the first African-American attending in the trauma service of the Medical College of Virginia. Never mind that the locker rooms are labeled "doctors" and "nurses" rather than "men" and "women" or that her dark skin communicates "incapable" to many of her white male colleagues in the OR. Camille has battled prejudices her entire career, but those battles were small spats compared to what she faces now.
When a colleague discovers a lump in her breast, she believes Dr. Camille Weller is the best doctor for her. Together, they decide on a course of treatment that bucks the established medical system, keeping Camille firmly in the crosshairs of male surgeons already riddled with skepticism and suspicion.
Her success as a surgeon is jeopardized further when dark whispers from her childhood in Africa plague Camille’s thoughts. Bewildering panic attacks instill fear in a surgeon bent on maintaining the control, pace, and direction of her own life. Unable to shake the flashes of memory, Camille is forced to face a past she has not acknowledged since the death of her father on an African mission field. Who was he? Who was she? And why would either of those answers affect her present?
Read an Excerpt
MEDICAL COLLEGE OF VIRGINIA, 1984
MY HEART BEAT with the exhilaration of knowing I hid in enemy territory—a woman in a men’s bathroom. Moments before, I had blown in to make a poignant statement about this sexist university, but right now, I felt a bit short-winded, like I needed to recover an ounce of the passion that had fueled my daily survival in this hospital for the greater part of the past decade.
There were trite metaphors to describe what I had just done. Threw down the gauntlet. Drew a line in the sand. Aunt Jeanine would have called it career suicide, but I never did give much for her... see more
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Reading Group Guide
In The Six-Liter Club, we revisit a time during the 1980s when there were still many personal—and professional—barriers to be broken for women and minorities. In 1983, Camille Weller, MD, is the first Black female in history to attain the status of attending staff at Medical College of Virginia. She is gritty, sexy, and used to excelling over her male colleagues. She was orphaned as a child, born in Africa, but raised by a white aunt in the racially charged South of the 1970s. She is a trauma surgeon and enters the prestigious Six-Liter Club on her first day on the job.
But Camille has difficulties with intimacy. She is troubled by recurrent flashbacks from her youth (growing up in the Congo as a child of an American missionary and Congolese mother) during the Simba Rebellion in the Congo. She becomes convinced by a counselor that she was abused by her father.
In the end, Camille realizes that her father saved her, didn’t abuse her, and the truth opens the way for her to begin to accept the fai see more