The candid memoir of a young doctor who reluctantly accepts a military commission and spends a year behind the front lines of the Vietnam War. Assigned to the marine camp at Phu Bai, Dr. John A. Parrish confronted all manner of medical trauma, quickly shedding the navet of a new medical intern.
With this memoir, he crafts a haunting, humane portrait of one man’s agonizing confrontation with war. With a wife and two children awaiting his return home, the young physician lives through the most turbulent and formative year of his life - and finds himself molded into a true doctor by the raw tragedy of the battlefield. His endless work is punctuated only by the arrival of the next helicopter bearing more casualties, and the stark announcements: “12 litter-borne wounded, 20 ambulatory wounded, and 5 dead.”
©1972 John Parrish (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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John Parrish, at the time he received his draft notice, was in a residency program at a Michigan hospital. He had three choices. First, John could accept a military commission and spend a year behind the front lines of the Vietnam War, second, he could be a conscientious objector but too much time has already passed or three, he could leave the country that he loved and move to Canada with his wife and two children.
John served one year in Phu Bai, Vietnam. He lived in what was referred to as a hooch, with three other men. One was a surgeon, another was a psychiatrist, the other was a jeep transporter and then there was John, a young doctor who was unsure of his skills as a physician, to care for the injured soldiers fighting in Vietnam.
John learned how to be an excellent trauma doctor with baptism by fire. He learned fast and hard. John's first day in Vietnam was spent taking care of American trauma patient's. The surgeon, Bill, taught him by showing him and having him perform procedures under his tutelage. When John returned home, after having served one year in a Vietnam trauma center, he knew more than he had learned in the six years he had spent at home as an intern and a resident.
I would have given the book four stars but the ending was a bit murky. The memoir of John Parrish was worth the listen. His time spent in Vietnam as a trauma doctor was interesting and was a learning experience for me. The narrator was able to provide the different character's with distinct voices. The character development of John was well done. The other character's who lived with John were good.
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