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To be a surgeon is to stand, without flinching, in the sea of human suffering and use one's entire resource of kwledge, skill and intelligence to battle it. An intern makes his first cut and is ridiculed by his tutor. An old woman is brought back to life against her will, only for the unexpected to strike a week later. A torious surgeon is driven crazy by a massive brain tumour. The mother of a leukemia-ridden child is driven to desperation . In this compelling and beautifully written impressionistic memoir, Mohamed Khadra recounts stories from his life as a surgeon, from the gruelling years of training to the debilitating sleepless nights on call. He looks back at the doctors and patients who shaped his career; at the endless stream of humanity - courageous, pitiful, admirable and dislikable-- who passed under his knife, as he recalls shocking tales of mistakes in theatre and the shattered lives of doctors defeated by the stresses of the job. Documenting the damaging politics in our healthcare system, the soul-destroying choices made for patients and the misplaced hope so common in the face of death, his dramatic account of a surgical life shows what happens when extraordinary events overtake everyday lives - including, even, his own.
Mohamed Khadra is a professor of Surgery at the University of Sydney, Australia. He has had a successful and varied career as a leader in education and medicine, internationally and in Australia. He has a degree in Medicine, a PhD and a fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He also has a postgraduate degree in Computing and a Masters in Education. His roles have included Inaugural Chair of Surgery at the Australian National University, Pro-vice Chancellor for Health, Design and Science at the University of Canberra, Professor of Surgery and Head of the School of Rural Health for the University of New South Wales. He has won several research prizes, including the Noel Newton Prize for surgical research and the Alban Gee Prize in urology. Mohamed is co-founder of the Institute of Technology Australia, an accredited higher-education provider that contributes to social justice by delivering accessible and affordable degrees to students in developing countries.