The Dressing Station: A Surgeon's Chronicle of War and Medicine

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Dec 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages
In this “vividly compelling” New York Times Notable Book, a surgeon recounts his experiences in war zones (The Washington Post).
 
From treating the casualties of apartheid in Cape Town to operating on Kurdish guerrillas in Northern Iraq at the end of the Gulf War, Jonathan Kaplan has saved (and lost) lives in the remotest corners of the world in the most extreme conditions. He has been a hospital surgeon, a ship’s physician, an air-ambulance doctor, and a trauma surgeon. He has worked in locations as diverse as England, Burma, Eritrea, the Amazon, Mozambique, and the United States.
 
In his “eloquent . . . beautifully written” memoir of unforgettable adventure and tragedy, Dr. Kaplan explores the great challenge of his career—to maintain his humanity in the face of incredible pain and suffering (The New York Times Book Review). “Packed with moments of searing intensity,” The Dressing Station is an “extraordinary” look into the nature of human violence, the shattering contradictions of war, and the complicated role of medicine in the modern world (The Washington Post).
 
“In this refreshingly unsentimental memoir, [Kaplan] offers a vivid look at what it’s like to practice medicine in places where there are always too many casualties and not enough resources. His descriptions of surgery are unflinching . . . Kaplan gives us a remarkable self-portrait of the war junkie.” —The New Yorker
 

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The dressing station: a surgeon's chronicle of war and medicine

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Trained as a physician in South Africa and London, Kaplan has had an extraordinary professional life as an emergency field surgeon on the front lines of apartheid in Nambia and Zululand, as well as in ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
South Africa 2 South Africa
England
America
Namibia and Zululand
Kurdistan
Kurdistan
The South China
Mozambique
Transit Lounges
Burma
South Africa and Brazil
Eritrea
Eritrea
Epilogue
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

The Dressing Station is a searing portrait of devastation on the battlefield that "illuminates the consequences of war and the ambiguities of relief work at a time when these issues couldn't matter more." (Caroline Fraser, Outside) From treating the casualties of apartheid in Cape Town to operating on Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq at the end of the Gulf War, Jonathan Kaplan has saved (and lost) lives in the remotest corners of the world in the most extreme conditions. He has been a hospital surgeon, a ship's physician, an air-ambulance doctor, and a trauma surgeon. He has worked in locations as diverse as England, Burma, Eritrea, the Amazon, Mozambique, and the United States. In this story of unforgettable adventure and tragedy, Dr. Kaplan explores the great challenge of his career -- to maintain his humanity even when that option does not seem possible. The Dressing Station is a haunting and elucidating look into the nature of human violence, the shattering contradictions of war, and the complicated role of medicine in this modern world. "A unique mix of biography and reportage, both personal and clinical," it is "a rare insight into the mind of a surgeon." -- Sue Cullinan, Time "Eloquent ... Beautifully written ... Provides a startling glimpse of battlefield surgery in those conflicts that CNN does not cover." -- Abraham Verghese, The New York Times Book Review "Kaplan ... has a keen sense of the smaller moments that leaven the agonies of daily life." -- Julian B. Orenstein, The Washington Post

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