Raising the Dead

Front Cover
Whittle Books, 1993 - Medical - 118 pages
On a spring afternoon in 1991, Richard Selzer, a retired surgeon and renowned medical essayist, collapsed while gazing from his study window. He was rushed to the hospital where he had practiced for many years, his former colleagues frantically struggling to contain the chaos toward which his body's systems were rampaging. Diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, Selzer lapsed into a coma and began a painful journey to a place where there was "more than a hint of death."
Raising the Dead is Selzer's vivid account of that journey - a trip to the underworld of disease, a world whose horrors are eased only by dementia, a place where death is as close as a lover. While his wife, children, doctors, and a gritty, wisecracking Irish nurse hover over him, Selzer suffers through the pain and indignity of medical procedures and the agonizing hallucinations that follow coma. Yet he "invites the IV pole, the respirator, the whole massive bank of machinery to suggest the background for a story." This story, the mysterious drama of the struggle between life and death, he relates with great power, elegance, and, surprisingly, wit. Few have been players in this drama and lived to tell about it. Fewer still, if any, can write about it with the intelligence and profundity of Richard Selzer.

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RAISING THE DEAD: A Doctor's Encounter with His Own Mortality

User Review  - Kirkus

The near-fatal illness of surgeon-turned-writer Selzer (Down From Troy, 1992; etc.), told with his usual precision and grit. On March 31, 1992, while working in his study, Selzer felt his knees buckle ... Read full review

Raising the dead

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Selzer was a surgeon at the Yale School of Medicine before he turned full time to writing. His books have been well received, in particular his essay on the art of surgery, Mortal Lessons ( LJ 12/1/76 ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

Richard Selzer was for many years a professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine.

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