terpkristin's Reviews > Confessions of a Surgeon: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated...Life Behind the O.R. Doors

Confessions of a Surgeon by Paul A. Ruggieri
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Feb 06, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, kindle, non-fiction
Read from February 06 to 12, 2012

True story 1: I was in graduate school in aerospace engineering before I finally gave up the idea of going to medical school and instead decided to be a rocket scientist. I thought for sure that I was going to be an orthopedic surgeon long before I thought I was going to work in satellites.

True story 2: From what Reggieri says in his book, life as a surgeon is very similar to life as a spacecraft systems engineer. He saves lives, I work on 100-million dollar satellites. For him, a bad outcome means more surgery or death. For me, it means a broken satellite and a very expensive insurance claim. There are many overpriced tools going into both of our jobs. And a lot of new-ish regulation. Finally, we both kind of thrive on "something" going wrong, being the hero in the middle of the night.

Honestly, this is one of the times I wish Goodreads allowed half-star ratings. I'd give this a three and a half. Ruggieri confesses what I've long suspected is true of my surgeons (I've had 13 surgeries). They think they're akin to gods. They don't get enough sleep. Seeing someone damage themselves pisses them off. And oh do they hate failure.

Ruggieri does a reasonable job of painting a picture of life on the other side of the scalpel. It's obvious he think there should be more transparency in medical (and medical error) reporting, and he touches that a lot. He seems to be an advocate for patient's right to know. All of that I can get behind...having searched for info on my doctors--and especially my surgeons--I can appreciate that I know next to nothing about any of the people that have cut into me. Sure, I know their accolades...but do I know their major complication rate? Nope.

I guess that I wished this book focused a little less on the disease itself. I found myself getting somewhat hypochondriac as I read pages of the book where he described someone feeling otherwise fine having a gut full of tumors. I also wish he was a little less repetitive. All in all, it was an interesting non-fiction title, but I'd avoid reading it if you get WebMD-itis.
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Reading Progress

02/06/2012 page 27
10.0% "I picked this up because I've had so many surgeries, I wanted to know what was going through my surgeons' heads..."
02/10/2012 page 64
24.0% "I need to get moving on this. It's interesting but somewhat predictable."
02/12/2012 page 214
79.0% "Parts of this exemplify why I probably would have failed in medical school--the descriptions of patients symptoms, surprise cancer diagnoses, etc. All it reminds me is that I still need to go for my annual appointment and I've been putting it off because I don't feel normal right now."

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message 1: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome *runs immediately to WebMD*

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