Across the Red Line: Stories from the Surgical Life

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Richard Karl, a doctor and teacher, takes the reader closer than any writer before into the corridors of the hospital, on the surgical table, and in the world of medicine. In these pages we see the tragedies and triumphs of modern medicine: the beauty of surgery done well, and the aftermath of operations that fail to deliver on the hopes of the doctor and patient. We witness the "M&M" - the morbidity and mortality meeting - where doctors scrutinize their own work and mistakes, and the often inevitable outcomes of treatment. Suffused throughout are Karl's keen observations on the workings of the human body and its immense capacity for healing.
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Editorial Reviews

Fourteen spellbinding vignettes about hospital procedures and medical training are related through the eyes of a well-established surgeon, some of them experienced as the patient. They expose the reader to the reality of the responsibility taken on when a violent act is performed in the name of healing. We learn what it feels like to lose a patient and how difficult it is to let them go while consoling family and loved ones. We learn what a trained surgeon is thinking when he goes under the knife. Karl reveals much about his character and integrity along with his relationships to his students, patients, friends, family and coworkers in this little volume. Every reader will be glad he shared it. Medical terms used are carefully explained for the layperson. This book is entertaining in some parts, but very intense in others, making it difficult to put down. It has value for anyone interested in medical matters or simply a good read, and will be helpful for prospective medical students to decide whether surgery interests them. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Temple Univ. Press, 147p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Ann Hart
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566399128
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Across the Red Line 1
1 M & M 13
2 How It Comes About That a Successful Operation Ends in Disaster 24
3 Fate 33
4 A Columnist Comes to Work 40
5 Four Patients in Santa Fe 51
6 Hanging 57
7 Helping Sal - Knowing When to Quit 65
8 On the Table 75
9 Hotel Utah 89
10 Midwest Bulletin Board 97
11 Retirement Party 106
12 Match Day 117
13 The Norwich Classic Car Rally 127
14 Luck 138
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