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There may be some truth to this: ""Of all the professionals, I think doctors are the most jealous; they feel the most threatened when a colleague in the same specialty does well."" (Witness the hatred and competition between Salk-Sabin, Cooley-DeBakey). Kelman (Cataracts) has such a story to tell. He was a pioneer in eye surgery in the Fifties and Sixties; among other contributions to ophthalmology, he developed a revolutionary ultrasonic method to remove cataracts that made the treatment both more effective and safer. But the road to all his discoveries was blocked by funding organizations that turned his plans down while passing the particulars on to other, favored researchers; by professional journals that refused to publish research papers from independent investigators; and by colleagues (and the American Academy of Ophthalmology) who refused to provide"" a forum for Kelman to present his results. As a relatively young, lone-ranger researcher, he persevered and finally gained due recognition (as well as some big-name patients, including Hedy Lamarr and Barbara Waiters' father). Kelman did receive boosts along the way: from neurologist I.S. Cooper, whose surgical freezing techniques for treating Parkinson patients formed the basis for Kelman's early work ("". . .his waiting room was divided into two halves: On one side were those who were not yet operated on and who shook; on the other side of the room were those who had been operated on and who shook not""); from small foundations, small engineering firms, and other solo inventors willing to take a chance and help. And, interestingly, from his patients, some of whom were willing to sacrifice an already blind eye to Kelman's experimental procedures. Aside from this story--with the excitement and tension of each operation conveyed--Kelman provides entertaining glimpses into his other life: he is an accomplished jazz musician who helped pay his way through the University of Geneva medical school by writing songs and playing saxophone in night clubs. A quirky, engaging account by an unusual personality--with glimpses of professional jealousy.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1985
Publisher: Crown