Over the twenty years that Arnold Arem has worked as a reconstructive hand surgeon, he has reflected on the impact of living with pain and questions of psychic well-being in the face of crippling injury and physical deformity. He has helped many patients through his mixture of technical skill and an all-too-rare ability to ...
Over the twenty years that Arnold Arem has worked as a reconstructive hand surgeon, he has reflected on the impact of living with pain and questions of psychic well-being in the face of crippling injury and physical deformity. He has helped many patients through his mixture of technical skill and an all-too-rare ability to simply listen to them.
In In Our Hands, Arem tells eleven extraordinary stories of the people he has treated in his practice: a boy with a birth defect for whom he fashions opposable thumbs; an elderly woman whose bizarre paralysis he recognizes as psychosomatic, leading to a cure; a man whose spirit remains intact despite the loss of both feet and one hand to Jim Henson's disease.
Each case study contains fascinating details on surgical techniques and treatments and reveals the day-to-day heroism of both doctors and patients. Above all, In Our Hands evokes the deepest issues of the relationship of the hand to the heart and human identity.
Arem, a physician and hand surgeon, offers a glimpse into the world of hand surgery from the perspectives of both the patient and the surgeon. Whether stroking a child's hair or aiming a football pass, our hands are incredible body parts that function automatically until accidents happen. Arem clearly shows this in Part 1 with 11 case studies of his patients, from infants to the middle aged, whose lives were scrambled from hand injuries. Comprising ten chapters, Part 2 covers specific hand problems, such as replantation, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rheumatoid disease. In the text, he also includes his views of patients, surgery, and this unique area of medicine-all of which are well worth noting. Throughout, Arem writes clearly and will thus be easily understood by lay readers. Recommended for public libraries and large medical collections.-Michael D. Cramer, Schwarz BioSciences, RTP, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A surgeon portrays the versatility and intricate anatomy of the human hand, as well as the terrible things that can go wrong with it. A hand is "the Rosetta stone of the soul," according to Arem (Surgery/Univ. of New Mexico; Clinical Associate/Univ. of Arizona College of Medicine). More than 20 years as a hand surgeon have not dimmed his fascination with and awe of this unique appendage, and he shares his enthusiasm here. First, he tells the stories of 11 patients who have come to him for repair of injuries or deformities. In each, the personality of the patient and accompanying family members or friends are as much a part of the story as the hand and its treatment. Rather than the aloof surgeon of stereotype, Arem listens closely to people's concerns. He is at heart a teacher, making sure his patients understand what has happened to them, what he will try to do for them, and what they must do for themselves. Similarly, as he describes each surgical procedure, he explains to the reader what he hopes to accomplish, what the problems are, and how he will handle them. Cases include creating an opposable thumb for a child born without one, salvaging hands nearly destroyed by gangrene or ravaged by rheumatic disease, and dealing with rattlesnake-bitten or machinery-mangled fingers. Less dramatic but no less interesting are cases involving carpal-tunnel syndrome and psychosomatic illness. In Part Two, "An Informal History of the Hand," Arem briefly touches on the language of gestures, the physiology of touch, left-handedness, palmistry, phantom limb pain, skin grafting, prostheses, the special significance of the thumb, and the nature of carpal-tunnel and rheumatoid disease. Thorough,informative, and warmly human.
Arnold Arem, M.D., clinical associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and clinical associate in surgery at the University of New Mexico, has been a reconstructive hand surgeon for over twenty years. He is an international lecturer and educator and has also served as an industrial consultant for companies such as IBM and Marion-Dow Laboratories. He is the author of numerous scientific articles. In Our Hands is his first book. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.