A surgical life
Wakefield Press, 2011
£19 Pb 288pp
ISBN 978 1 74305 014 9
This is the autobiography of an Australian surgeon whose Christian faith pervades his writing. He shares his experience of working in places as diverse as Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Tasmania and Yeman. His travels also took him to surgical meetings in many other parts of the world and famous names, including Paul Brand, are often 'droopped'.
It is a very honoest book by a man who doesn't pull any punches with either medical or church hierarchies. He shares his delight in surgery, including pioneering work with ruptured spleens, third-world neurosurgery and correction of leprosy deformities. He rose to be professor of surgery in PNG, but life was not easy for him as he coped with epilepsy, depressive illness in a daughter, the rape of his wife by five rascals in PNG (there are interesting comments on Christian forgiveness) and the murder of colleagues in Yemen; he escaped by having gone late to breakfast.
If you have ever worked in a third-world country, you will definitely want to read it. So for me, having spent a month in PNG, it was fascinating.
A glossary of abbreviations would have been helpful, some chapters seem unnecessarily detailed for the general reader and some medical knowledge is essential for understanding.