In this pulse-pounding medical memoir, trauma surgeon James Cole takes readers straight into the ER, where anything can and does happen.
TRAUMA is Dr. Cole's harrowing account of his life spent in the ER and on the battlegrounds, fighting to save lives. In addition to his gripping stories of treating victims of gunshot wounds, stabbings, attempted suicides, flesh-eating bacteria, car crashes, industrial accidents, murder, and war, the book also covers the years during Cole's residency training when he was faced with 120-hour work weeks, excessive sleep deprivation, and the pressures of having to manage people dying of traumatic injury, often with little support.
Unlike the authors of other medical memoirs, Cole trained to be a surgeon in the military and served as a physician member of a Marine Corps reconnaissance unit, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and on a Navy Reserve SEAL team. From treating war casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq to his experiences as a civilian trauma surgeon treating alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, and the mentally deranged, TRAUMA is an intense look at one man's commitment to his country and to those most desperately in need of aid.
The vast number of mangled patients inevitably becomes a "mental blur" for the emergency surgeons who yank them from the brink of death. Yet Cole presents an extraordinary chronicle of memorable cases some heartbreaking, some seemingly miraculous as he details his grueling training to become a surgeon, one who appears never to forget his humanity and humility. As Cole transitions from a residency at a military hospital to civilian practice and back to service in the Navy, he dissects his cases. A cranky old coot who got his right foot wedged between some furniture became one of Cole's most challenging patients, surviving a marathon 26-hour operation. One boy whose maniac father came at him with a screwdriver died despite incredible surgical efforts. A construction worker impaled on a rebar steel pole, was saved by Cole, who sweetly boasts of his "signature operation" involving a "temple of surprises" in the patient's gut. Surgeons-in-training will be fascinated with the level of detail Cole provides. But for everyone else, there are patients who the doctor acknowledges have given back as much as he has provided. Cole writes of a young brain surgery patient, "Rachel's success once again reminded me that quitting my job would never be an option." 20 b&w photos.