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Richard Karl, a doctor and teacher, takes the reader closer than any writer before into the corridors of the hospital, on the surgical table, and into the world of medicine. In these pages we see the tragedies and triumphs of modern medicine: the beauty of surgery done well, and the aftermath of operations that fail to deliver on the hopes of the doctor and patient. We witness the "M&M"—the morbidity and mortality meeting—where doctors scrutinize their own work and mistakes, and the often inevitable outcomes of treatment. Suffused throughout are Karl’s keen observations on the workings of the human body and its immense capacity for healing. "...I celebrate the rich privilege accorded the practicing surgeon. The surgical life is really about bearing witness to the human condition and about respecting the many almost whimsical variations of biology and about the intersection of the two. It is remarkable, really, the way I get to know people so intimately so quickly, and to observe the brave and often noble behavior in them, while I witness the relentless push of biology, the aging and decay, the growth and development, but most especially the healing, both physical and emotional. It is this natural drive of our bodies to repair themselves from all injuries (including the surgeon's wounds) that is the centerpiece of medicine. Without it no surgeon could cut." Written with economy and subtlety, Across the Red Line offers a vivid picture of disease and the miracle of life. It will interest anyone who's ever been on either side of the surgical table.

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