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Beyond the Scalpel

Richard T. Caleel, DO
JAMA. 1992;268(15):2109. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490150163048.
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In Beyond the Scalpel Dr Costanzo reports his first year of surgical residency in a daily journal format. The majority of the book deals with his experiences in the emergency department and operating room.

It is difficult to develop a feel for the personalities of his patients, since they are only briefly encountered. The material appears to be somewhat disjointed, and even Dr Costanzo's persona does not fully emerge for the reader. There are a considerable number of spelling errors, which can be quite confusing, eg, "carotid" for "parotid."

It would appear from his comments that the majority of the attending surgeons are extremely difficult and unpleasant personalities. He consistently refers to the women in his book as "chicks," despite their position or relationship to the story.

In summary, I feel that this book offers little to experienced medical personnel and would probably be somewhat confusing to the lay public.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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