Author: Henry Jay Przybylo
Source: from publisher for review
Summary: The sections on history and philosophy of anesthesiology weren’t my favorite, but the fascinating, moving patient stories were fantastic.
In his career of more thirty years, anesthesiologist Dr. Henry Jay Przybylo has administered anesthesia more than 30,000 times. His patients have included everyone from “newborn babies, screaming toddlers, sullen teenagers, even a gorilla.” (source). As he shares his experiences with these patients, he also explores the nature of consciousness and the history of anesthesiology.
The author led with some history of anesthesiology and his philosophy of how anesthesiology should be done. In these parts, he came across as somewhat self-important. For example, describing the gases he uses as ‘my anesthesiology gases’ instead of as ‘the anesthesiology gases’. These little things that bothered me completely disappeared when he started talking about his patients. He clearly cares deeply for the well-being of his patients and told their stories with care and comparison. He’s had some incredible experiences in his career, which were a pleasure to read about.
His stories about his patients were delightfully varied. Some were funny, others heartbreaking. All were incredibly interesting. Topic transitions could be a little rough and I think I’d have enjoyed this book more had it been exclusively patient stories. These were the bulk of the book though and I’d definitely recommend picking this up for that reason. It was a quick, easy read and I think the engaging patient stories would make this a great pick even for someone who doesn’t often pick up nonfiction.