To be a surgeon is to stand, without flinching, in the sea of human suffering and use one's entire resource of knowledge, skill and intelligence to battle it.
An intern makes his first cut and is ridiculed by his tutor. An old woman is bought back to life against her will, only for the unexpected to strike a week later. A notorious surgeon is driven crazy by a massive brain tumour. The mother of a leukaemia-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 dislikeable - 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.