Counting Backwards: A Doctor's Notes on Anesthesia

Norton. Sept. 2017. 256p. notes. ISBN 9780393254433. $25.95. SCI
Przybylo (anesthesiology, Northwestern Univ.) offers a stirring account of his 30-year career as an anesthesiologist. He tells tales of the first person he ever anesthetized, his experience of working on a baby gorilla, and the time he wasn't allowed to perform anesthesiology on his own son, all interspersed with the history of anesthesiology and the trials and tribulations its early practitioners encountered. Przybylo also goes through his daily process of administering anesthesia and gives amusing and heartfelt anecdotes of his successes and failures. His passion for his work is felt through his stories, and while his admitted quest for absolute perfection may come off as arrogant to some, Przybylo ultimately allows readers a rare peek into the world of one of the more underrated and mysterious procedures in modern medicine.
VERDICT Medical students will appreciate Przybylo's enthusiasm, and casual readers will find his description of his line of work engaging and educational. A solid addition to any nonfiction shelf.
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