Sunday, 16 July 2017
Tender is the Scalpel's Edge
He draws on his over four decades of work at the forefront of medical care involved with healthcare within busy NHS hospitals.
He touches on all aspects of his professional life from his time as a medical student, right through to working as a vital part of a highly disciplined team of healthcare workers working together to save the life of a patient and what happens when the patient cannot be saved.
Although a detailed account, the author is extremely sensitive in how he tells the various stories that he covers.
From self-doubts if he is even suitable to be training as a medical doctor to learning that not only did he have what it took to become a medical doctor, he was also capable of continuing his training, this time as a surgical trainee, until he eventually was at the peak of his profession, a consultant surgeon.
From the moment I opened the book I was immediately drawn into a world of urgent surgical procedures, of patients in need of urgent, lifesaving urological surgery by Mr Das and his team of highly trained professional medical staff.
We also read of Mr Das' early days learning his surgical skills in India -he was the winner of a gold medal for surgery at Medical College- and of how he had to fight off the bed bugs that infected the rooftop hostel shared by the hospital's surgical residents, charmingly described as a "doctor's chummery" by Gautam Das.
We follow Gautam Das through his career in India and also in Britain, when, following his Master of Surgery qualification, he left India in 1979.
In 1981 he was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and he was awarded the Surgeon-in Training Medal of the College in 1988, before continuing on to obtain the Specialist (FRCS (Urology).
He was appointed Consultant Urological Surgeon in Croydon in 1990, a prestigious post he held until his retirement in June last year, 2016.
From 2005 to 2010 he also worked as a Pelvic Cancer Surgeon at St George's Hospital, London.
He has not fully retired, however, as he remains a Trustee-Director of the South East England Cancer Help Centre.
The book is a very human and humane account of his life as a surgeon and anyone with even a passing interest in this subject will benefit from this book. It would probably make a welcome addition to the bookshelves of any medical student or surgeon.
It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is obtainable at https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.