DOC by R.E. Losee


Then and Now with a Montana Physician
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 Disarming tales from a frontier doctor, an appealing old coot who actually considers himself a mere mortal. The year is 1949. Young Dr. Ron Losee has piled his wife and child into an army-surplus jeep and pointed it at Ennis, Mont., a wee burg hard by the foot of the Tobacco Root Range. What follows are the trials and tribulations of a GP forced to handle all manner of catastrophes, large and small, with a wing and a prayer and a sharp knife. Losee has a smart take on his profession: ``Doctoring should not be a business, and I think that the surgeon who operates needlessly, as it were, possesses the morality of a rapist.'' He charges each incident with enough drama to draw the reader in like blood to a cotton swab. Fractures are set; hot appendixes snipped; laryngectomies, stitchings, lancings, and bilateral castrations performed; an arm removed with a hacksaw. His theater of operations is an army cot illuminated by an old car headlight. His mistakes and failures are confessed and serve to humanize him; so do his wrenching losses, as when a child dies, and her father, dazed and confused, begs the nurse not to throw the body out with the trash. For a break, Losee shuttles off to Montreal to attend a residency in orthopedic surgery. He returns to Ennis, now with a hospital of its own, and starts to specialize in knee work, gaining a modest reputation in the process. Most of the stories hereafter revolve around lateral, medial, and cruxial ligaments, but the humor shines right through all the bloody tissue. Get this guy to a biochemist and have him cloned. As a memoirist, he's just fine; as a physician, we could use a few more thousand just like him. (Photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1994
ISBN: 1-55821-323-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1994