Review: Paul Whang – Operating Room Confidential

Operating Room Confidential
Paul Whang

“An anesthetist reveals operating room curses and superstitions, the characteristics of a good surgeon, and the patients that doctors fear, in this insider’s view of the fascinating protocols of the operating room and the people who work there.”

This was a medical type non-fiction that was interesting but not riveting. I somehow didn’t realise that anesthesiologists are medical doctors first! I’m not sure how I didn’t know that. Imagine using all of your training to gas people under each day! No, that is a complete disservice. As this book sets out to accomplish, I came out the other end knowing that an anesthetist’s job is actually quite complicated and essential for smooth surgery.

What I wanted were gruesome stories of anesthetics going wrong or interesting horror stories of operations that had gone right from an anesthetics point of view, but very very wrong from the operation (eg. removing the wrong leg!). instead I got a run-down of the different types of surgeon and the types of decisions that are sometimes made when preparing for surgery. Also, an appreciation for how difficult it is to do surgery on some people. If I was in a position where I was going to need surgery, I now know that they can do something for the nausea (easily the worst part for me) and shivers! I just have to make sure to get a very knowledgeable anesthetist…

I definitely wouldn’t buy this book, there is nothing particularly amazing about it that tells me to read it again. I’m not even sure I’d recommend it as reading for anyone unless 1. they are from the USA (many of the medical facts are only relevant to those particular North Americans, and 2. have a keen interest in finding out about all facets of medicine via non-fiction reading.

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