What happens to a boy who sneaks into medical operating theaters and then tries techniques he's observed there on rats and rabbits, never losing a patient? This particular boy, so enamored of surgery that he involved his mother as ""anesthesiologist"" and practiced one-handed knots day and night, grew up to be the US Surgeon General. Before Koop came into the public eye as a controversial figure (he was both revered and reviled), he had pioneered in the treatment of hernias, birth defects, and hydrocephalus. In a lively narrative, sparked with contagious enthusiasm and maintaining an admirable balance between simplicity and respect for the reader's intelligence, health writer Bianchi portrays the trials and glories of this deeply conservative man, who kept his promise to set aside personal beliefs for greater service. Chronology; bibliography; notes; index.