I have to say, I'm not impressed.
Sure, it's clever to structure everything in your book in the image of your point. It takes work. But it gets damn tiresome to read, particularly when your point is that the dying brain shoots out constant attempts at communication with the rest of the body, in an effort to get it functional again. Most of them, obviously, fail. Occasionally, one actually gets through and people miraculaously pull through.
So, Willis makes the point constantly throughout the book. There's the ramshackle hospital that is constantly under repair and causes people to constantly re-route to get where they need to go. Not a bad metaphor...but to have it described over & over & over again was...much. There is the nurse who does everything but send an engraved invitation to the doctor who is too engrossed in his work to know she's even speaking...let alone flirting. There's the dying little girl, fascinated by disasters, whose mother is in full denial of her condition.
::sigh:: Yeah...I got it already, sheesh!
Approximately 2/3 through the book, the primary protagonist dies suddenly. Almost lost my interest right there. Lost my interest AND annoyed me when I realized that there were several more chapters to come describing the hallucination that Joanna's dying brain takes her through. Long after she is buried in RL, we're still getting Titanic-on-shrooms imagery of her death. Feh.
One thing I did like about the book were the chapter headings, which were the last words of various people. Morbid weirdo that I am, I found that fascinating. Otherwise, though...well, let's just say I won't ever have the hours it took to read that book back. I'm stunned that this made Hugo nomination.