DOCTOR AT LARGE by Morris Gibson


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More warmhearted reminiscenses about the trials and rewards of the medical life from the Canadian physician and author (One Man's Medicine, A View from the Mountains). Comparisons to James Herriot (who blurbed here) come naturally: quiet humor, an insistence on the value of compassion and an honest day's work permeate these autobiographical anecdotes of a lifetime spent treating the sick, mostly in rural settings. Like a kind uncle, Gibson regales with vignettes, most humorous and a few poignant, of his rambunctious days at medical school in Glasgow, his sometimes harrowing WW II service, his eventual settling down to practice with his physician/wife in the small Alberta town of Okotoks, and his subsequent tenure as a teacher at the University of Calgary. Although the author's deep faith in his own wisdom occasionally veers towards the smug and often verges into the didactic, he balances his rampant self-esteem with the deep respect he displays towards his charges, particularly the Canadian ranchers--his primary clientele for decades--who spring to blustering life in a series of vivid word-portraits. What is most interesting here, however, are Gibson's incisive reflections on the development of medical knowledge during his lifetime and his lively discussions of the early days of doctoring, when antibiotics were unknown and medicine was so much more of an art than a technology. included here is a fascinating exposition of hypnosis, of which Gibson was a pioneering practitioner. As easy to swallow as a sugar-coated pill, but with a surprisingly pungent aftertaste. These memoirs both comfort and stimulate.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Beaufort