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Morse is a pediatric surgeon with more of a story than you'd suspect from the stick-on inspirational title. In 1953, he began his internship in pediatrics at New York's Bellevue Hospital; at Boston Children's, he decided that pediatric surgery was where he'd be happiest; after seven years of training, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he's practiced for the past 20 years. The significance of this vita is that it was at those centers, during that period, that many of the astounding recent advances in pediatrics took place--and Morse was in on them. Through tales of his patients, we hear about: breakthroughs in the care of premature babies that not only resulted in the survival of much smaller infants than ever thought possible, but also in the discovery that a standard oxygen treatment had been causing them to go blind; new techniques in cardiac surgery that now routinely save babies with severe cardiac defects; the development of surgery and dialysis treatments that can cure or maintain children who would otherwise die of kidney failure. Morse's wife heroically had four children while he was still in training, and he is satisfactorily grateful; his calm acceptance and appreciation of his patients, and of the nurses he works with, comes as a relief after recent stack-blowing chronicles from younger docs. Unfortunately, Morse falls into a teaching-rounds tone in relating the later cases (""the enlarged cylinder of muscle that surrounds the pylorus usually can be felt as a firm, movable mass resembling. . .""); at worst, one is reminded of the required post-operative summary dictation. But at their more frequent best, these are engrossing tales of medical advances.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday