James C. Eisenach, M.D., Editor
Careers in Anesthesiology: Autobiographical Memoirs. Edited by B. Raymond Fink. Volume I: William K. Hamilton, “No Time at All”; Eli M. Brown, “An Autobiographical Essay”; E.M. Papper, “The Palate of My Mind.” Park Ridge, Illinois, Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology, 1997. Pages: 217. Price:$35.00 (hard cover);$25.00 (paperback).
Anesthesiologists at all points in their careers will enjoy and benefit from reading this book. Following the stories of three distinguished anesthesiologists provides the reader with history, perspective, admiration, and wonder for the specialty. Three different lives cover more than 50 years of the trials, tribulations, success, and development of anesthesiology. The reader learns of a time when anesthesia was administered by mask for correction of tracheoesophageal fistulas in the newborn, when it was the norm for anesthesiology to be part of the Department of Surgery in university medical centers, when anesthesiology suffered from a dearth of well-educated anesthesiologists, financial resources, times, and space for research, and when anesthesiologists commanded little respect in the medical community. We follow the evolution of the specialty to one held in high regard and which has reduced the patient mortality rate from 1:6,000 to 1:400,000 anesthetics.
The stories of these three men help us to know them as real people. They are told with charm, honesty, and in places humor. The important roles these physicians filled in the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Association of University Anesthesiologists, the American Board of Anesthesiology, and the National Institutes of Health provide unique insight into these organizations.
Although several typographic errors appear throughout the text, the book reads easily, and the 35 dollar cost for the hardback version represents a fair price. An index would enhance the value of the book as a source of information about our specialty.
I highly recommend this book for all anesthesiologists. Reading it will help to understand our heritage. The Wood Library deserves commendation for capturing and preserving our history in such a delightful manner. I look forward to volume II with great anticipation.
Francis M. James, III, M.D.
Department of Anesthesiology; Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103–1009