Hazel Magnussen has written a thoughtful and moving account about the tragic and brutal death of Doug Snider. She reports the facts in a balanced manner, which is perhaps surprising, given that Magnussen is Doug Snider’s little sister. Magnussen wants to tell Canadians that the justice system is weighted too heavily in favour of criminals. She argues well and forcefully, even as her heart is broken. The book is also an introduction to Abe Cooper, a charismatic, driven, highly accomplished man, but one so arrogant and selfish that he felt justified in harassing, then killing a good man, small town doctor Doug Snider.
David Staples, Edmonton Journal
This book details a dimension of our Canadian society to which most of us turn a blind eye. It is only when we are personally involved in such a nightmare, that we appreciate the full depth of the outrage. It deserves to be read by every Canadian.
Rev. Foster Freed, United Church minister
This book illustrates the reality of what victims of crime often face in the criminal justice system. Victims have few rights in a system that often victimizes them a second time. Hazel Magnussen has described the pain that too many victims in Canada feel and her call for reform must be heard.
Steve Sullivan, President, Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.
Hazel has written a fair and important account of the events leading up to the murder of her brother and a mesmerizing, but shocking, report on the subsequent trial. Hazel writes eloquently, as she emphasizes the need for sweeping reforms in our judicial system, which often appears less interested in the truth and more interested in protecting the offender. She also presents a compelling message that medical regulators must deal incisively with members who are abusive and disruptive. This book deserves to be read by all Canadians who care about medical and judicial reforms and who believe in our Canadian ideal of fairness for all.
Carol Gemgembre, volunteer director, Oceanside Citizens on Patrol (COPS)
The story gains some humanity when told from Magnussen’s perspective. As his sister, she retells the doctor’s story in a view much different from the media. Suddenly, it becomes a story of people. The reader is immersed into the lives of Magnussen and her family… The intervening of real-life memories, backed by strong factual evidence work well together to present a complete and comprehensive look at the trial.
Marketa Stastna, Fast Forward, Calgary’s News & Entertainment Weekly, August 17,2006
Author Hazel J. Magnussen tackles a brutal true crime story with excellent research and a cool head.She is a thoughtful and forceful writer.
Ali Vail, Parksville/ Qualicum Beach (BC) News
No one imagines the health-care system and the justice system to be perfect, but few readers would expect the flaws that Magnussen highlights in this book…The fact that Magnussen’s book is available at so many fine book stores in Alberta and B.C., and is in so many public libraries, says a lot for the author’s ability as well as the interest in the subject.
Liz Pogue, Times Colonist, March18, 2007
A Doctor’s Calling is a courageous book, a necessary book and I fully appreciate the pain and the passion with which the author needed to write it. The law is often about the law, and not about justice. What happened to Magnussen, her brother, and her family is an outrage, and probably happens somewhere in the US or Canada every day.
Dr. James Hollis, Jungian analyst and author
Magnussen honors her brother by giving us much biographical detail of how he lived, not just how he died. This is important because too often individuals who suffer a violent death are eclipsed (and inadvertently diminished) by how they die…..
This slim volume is important reading for all Canadian physicians. It gives us much insight into disruptive behavior by physicians in the medical workplace.
Dr. Michael F. Myers, BC Medical Journal, November 2007.
The types of personalities and situations quietly detailed in this book are familiar to all of us—the conscientious country doctor, the abrasive, ambitious bully, workplace frictions, many of them unnecessary—and are part of anyone’s life. Yet in this case, they led to murder, a cover-up, and counteraccusations that amounted to character assassination. If it can happen in northern Alberta, it can happen anywhere. The author’s anguish, which seeps out of every sentence, is all the more powerful for being understated and implicit rather than howled from the mountaintops.
Judge’s commentary, Writer’s Digest Self-published Book Awards
This book was well written, has good structure, and contains an important story.
Review by James Loewen,Spring 2008 Newsletter, Church Council on Justice and Corrections.
Hazel Magnussen’s detailed and frank book succinctly alerts readers to the difficult challenges associated with identifying and managing disruptive behaviour among physicians. She also shares her family’s painful lessons about the Canadian justice system, and the key strategies they feel governments ought to enact to fully honour her brother’s death. Well written and enriched with family photographs and personal anecdotes, Magnussen carefully reveals the often secret struggle faced by those tasked with managing disruptive behaviour…
Her message is crystal clear: self regulation and the criminal justice system both failed her brother, his family, and the community he served. We can, and ought to, do better.
Review by Dr. Derek Puddester, University of Ottawa, Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 1, 2008. p. 57-58