The Barbershop Quartet: A Surgical Saga

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Trafford Publishing, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 199 pages

The author grew up in South Africa. His book describes a life style of education both in Johannesburg and then in Oxford in the mid-20th Century. A medical career in physiology, general surgery and neurosurgery led to encounters with patients, medical colleagues and tort lawyers whose personal stories, talents and idiosyncrasies colour the book. These histories are painted against the background of the trials and tribulations of the practice of medicine in South Africa in the era when Verwoerd and his successors strode the stage.

Interspersed throughout are excerpts from the life stories and scientific contributions of researchers in the fields of surgical physiology, general and spinal surgery.

The dramatic progress of neuroadiology and aspects of medicine and surgery across the century form a backdrop to the catalogue of life in the "Black" hospitals of Johannesburg.

The problems of medical ethics of survival from womb to tomb, and the conflicts that arise from cultures and legal constraints against the practice of euthanasia, are always in play. Right to life issues contrast with a death wish of some personalities in a morbid field of medicine and add to the drama of life and death played out in the story.

This volume will appeal to doctors, lawyers, patients, road crash victims, and anybody with an interest in the wide fields of medical and social history of the 20th Century.


 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
SWEENEY TODD AND THE BARBERSHOP QUARTET
3
ON BEING EDUCATED
7
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND MEDICAL SCHOOL
10
A FATAL EXPOSURE TO MEDICINE
17
AN INTRODUCTION TO SURGERY
20
SEPARATE BUT NOT EXACTLY EQUAL
24
AN OBSTETRICAL INTERLUDE
27
REPRISEBACK TO THE BARBER SHOP QUARTET 19671972
98
DRAW A PERSON
103
THE ABSENT TUMOURS OF THE BLACK BRAIN
106
THE MYELOMENINGOCOELE MMC TRAGEDY
111
MR MICAWBERS ADAGE
119
BACK TO BACK
123
TO FUSE OR NOT TO FUSE
130
SYBILS SAGA
133

A JAUNDICED VIEW OF CAPETOWN
30
ENGLAND OR BUST
35
BACK TO NEH 19623
41
BARAGWANATH HOSPITAL 19631964
49
THE BARBER SHOP QUARTET
52
STAR TURN NEURORADIOLOGY
58
INTO THEATRE
67
SPINAL CORD INJURY
74
16 THE BENEFICENT LORD NUFFIELD
81
MECHANICAL VENTILATION
85
TO THE NINTH DECIMAL PLACE
89
ANTERIOR SPINAL SURGERY
139
MODIGLIANIS NECK
144
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE LAW
151
AN EYE FOR AN EYE
159
THE TWILIGHT ZONE
165
WHIPLASH WILLIE
170
SPAGHETTI WESTERN
174
ON KIDDING YOURSELF
181
THE END IS NAAI
190
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About the author (2005)

Colin Froman was born in 1935 in Witbank, a coal mining town east of Johannesburg. He was educated at King Edward VII School and the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he graduated as a medical doctor in 1958.

He spent time in Medical, Surgical and Obstetrical Units in Johannesburg and Capetown. He worked in London in 1961-2 where he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Edinburgh.

He joined the Department of Neurosurgery, at the Baragwanath (Chris Hani Memorial) Hospital, Soweto.

He spent 40 years in the practice of Neurosurgery, from 1962 to 2002, in Johannesburg and its environs, with an interlude of three years from 1965 to 1967 when he was Nuffield Fellow in Oxord where he completed a D.Phil. degree in Respiratory Physiology.

He has taught, traveled and written widely in the field of Neurosurgery.

He married Penny Jammy in 1963, and they have three married children and they dote on their eight grandchildren.

He spends his retirement living in Israel, where he writes, reads, swims, surfs the Internet, plays bad golf and bridge and travels to see the grandchildren.

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