Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery

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Simon and Schuster, 1976 - Surgery - 219 pages
In this collection of nineteen unforgettable essays, Dr. Selzer describes unsparingly the surgeon's art. Both moving and perversely funny, Mortal Lessons is an established classic that considers not only the workings and misworkings of the human body but also the meaning of life and death. With a Preface written by the Author especially for this edition.

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I love this book. I first came across it in the early 80’s when I was working as a chaplain in Palliative Care. Seltzer had such compassionate stories and lifted traumatic medical events to a spiritual but yet elemental level. I have relayed some of the stories many times over the years as they have remained in my heart as such human/spiritual lessons. Highly recommended.  

Contents

THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE SOUL
15
THE SURGEON AS PRIEST
24
BONE
51
Copyright

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About the author (1976)

Allen Richard Selzer was born in Troy, New York on June 24, 1928. He graduated from Union College in 1948 and Albany Medical College in 1953. After an internship at Yale, he was drafted into the Army and served as a lieutenant in Korea from 1955 to 1957. He finished his surgical residency at Yale in 1957 and practiced until 1985, when he left his surgical career to write full time. He wrote horror stories that were published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His short stories included A Question of Mercy, Imelda, and Whither Thou Goest. His books included The Doctor Stories, Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, Confessions of a Knife, Rituals of Surgery, and Letters to a Young Doctor. He died on June 15, 2016 at the age of 87.

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