Trauma: My Life as an Emergency Surgeon

James Cole, M.D. . St. Martin's, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-55222-0
The vast number of mangled patients inevitably becomes a "mental blur" for the emergency surgeons who yank them from the brink of death. Yet Cole presents an extraordinary chronicle of memorable cases—some heartbreaking, some seemingly miraculous—as he details his grueling training to become a surgeon, one who appears never to forget his humanity and humility. As Cole transitions from a residency at a military hospital to civilian practice and back to service in the Navy, he dissects his cases. A cranky old coot who got his right foot wedged between some furniture became one of Cole's most challenging patients, surviving a marathon 26-hour operation. One boy whose maniac father came at him with a screwdriver died despite incredible surgical efforts. A construction worker impaled on a rebar steel pole, was saved by Cole, who sweetly boasts of his "signature operation" involving a "temple of surprises" in the patient's gut. Surgeons-in-training will be fascinated with the level of detail Cole provides. But for everyone else, there are patients who the doctor acknowledges have given back as much as he has provided. Cole writes of a young brain surgery patient, "Rachel's success once again reminded me that quitting my job would never be an option." 20 b&w photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Paperback - 335 pages - 978-1-250-01314-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-8917-6
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