Brooklyn Beginnings: A Geriatrician’S Odyssey

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iUniverse, May 29, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 296 pages
Helicopter evacuations, teaching West Bank Arab nursing students, life and death medical decisions, aging Holocaust survivors, heart-breaking ethical decisions -- Brooklyn Beginnings immerses the reader in the life stories of Dr. Michael Gordon who helped forge contemporary Geriatrics in his adopted Canada. His Brighton Beach childhood, his initially quiescent Jewish roots, and a unique Lithuanian and Scottish interface profoundly inspired Gordons personal and professional journey. From his early wanderings through Europe to his Scottish medical education, through Eastern European travels and his Israeli immigration, with its associated military service and Holocaust survivor exposure, Gordons arrival in Canada was a culmination of his personal challenges.

He drew on his life experiences to help his patients, their families and medical trainees for more than thirty years. Among the life-altering experiences in this personal reflection are: experiencing Israels Six Day War from within an Arab country; confronting the U.S. Selective Service and the Vietnam War; being a physician in the Israeli Air Force; engaging in clinical and educational activities within the Arab world; and fulfilling a seminal professional and educational role as a geriatrician and ethicist. The complex human condition is engagingly and warmly presented against the profound challenges of health and disease.


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_Brooklyn Beginnings: A Geriatrician’s Odyssey_ is a fiery, frank, and often funny account of Dr Michael Gordon’s development: not just as a pioneering physician and medical ethicist, but as a husband, father and, throughout his life, the child of aging parents himself. With its distinct and accessible narrative voice, this compelling memoir affirms that “professionalism” in medicine need not be divorced from the domain of the “personal.” From acing medical vivas in Scotland, to eluding border guards in Bulgaria, to advocating on behalf of his elderly patients, Dr Gordon’s perennial charm reminds readers just how much personality and, to some extent, luck, can powerfully influence the directions taken in one's life. Yet his accounts of personal disappointments, professional quandaries, and those agonizing episodes in life that defy all supposed qualifications, are also written with remarkable candour and honesty. The overall effect of Dr Gordon’s style and story is impressive – on one hand, we learn about an extraordinary life; yet this is a personal odyssey rich in moments that will resonate genuinely with the reader’s own. 

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About the author (2009)

As the holder of Canada’s first certificate as a specialist in Geriatric Medicine, issued in 1981, Dr. Michael Gordon has witnessed and been a part of the establishment and growth of this relatively new medical specialty in Canada and the United States. He has been at the forefront of the advances that have occurred and the transformations in the provision of care have been remarkable.

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