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Publisher's Summary

As an active surgeon and former department chairman, Dr. Paul A. Ruggieri has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of his profession. In Confessions of a Surgeon, he pushes open the doors of the OR and reveals the inscrutable place where lives are improved, saved, and sometimes lost. He shares the successes, failures, remarkable advances, and camaraderie that make it exciting. He uncovers the truth about the abusive, exhaustive training and the arduous devotion of his old-school education. He explores the 24-hour challenges that come from patients and their loved ones; the ethics of saving the lives of repugnant criminals; the hot-button issues of health care, lawsuits, and reimbursements; and the true cost of running a private practice. And he explains the influence of the "white coat code of silence" and why patients may never know what really transpires during surgery. Ultimately, Dr. Ruggieri lays bare an occupation that to most is as mysterious and unfamiliar as it is misunderstood. His account is passionate, illuminating, and often shocking - an eye-opening, never-before-seen look at real life, and death, in the OR.

©2012 Dr. Paul Ruggieri (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An honest and open look into the surgical profession." ( Library Journal)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • suzanne
  • OAKMONT, PA, United States
  • 07-31-17

Enjoyed the anecdotes!

What did you love best about Confessions of a Surgeon?

I love hearing the personal stories and experiences. In health care truth is stranger than fiction and you just can't make up some of this stuff!

Which scene was your favorite?

Sadly, the stories about surgeons opening up abdomens only to find their cancers are inoperable.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The guilt he felt when a patient either died or suffered..questioning whether he could have done more.

Any additional comments?

As an RN for over 30 years, I truly have a deep appreciation for MDs who have dedicated so much of their lives, often forgoing personal obligations to serve their patients. However, this older generation of surgeons I know all too well as power and control mongers. There is a severe lack of respect for anyone else around them. The rest of us subject to their moods, rules, and unconscionable bad behavior. No doubt he has misdirected his anger and frustration toward countless "underlings" and gotten away with it at a time where Human Resource departments were almost non-existent. There are a few of these gems still around, but thankfully they are fading to extinction. Dr. Ruggieri, although I've never worked with you, I KNOW you. Perhaps you might consider writing an addendum of "Confessions of a Surgeon" to "confess" your sins toward all of the people you've squashed professionally.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent, Honest, Opinion Changing Account

I have way more empathy for General Surgeons than ever before! Hearing so many accounts of what one goes through, endures and sacrifices of their own quality of life on behalf of so many. This changes my previous cynicism into respect. This book makes me want to UP my commitment to my health, so I don't willfully put some over-worked, under-paid, over-regulated burned out, sleep deprived surgeon through a hell I may have been able to avoid. Very educational and informative in terms of what a General Surgeon goes through. Makes a valid case for why Practitioners would choose another profession or specialty!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Good Book

My mind drifts when I'm listening to a book that doesn't interest me. That didn't happen with this audio book. He sounds very truthful about his experiences as a doctor, and I really appreciate that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Different view- well done, for what it is

The first thought that this was a book for me was when the medical student faced his first pelvic exam, on a live patient, a model trained for the purpose. The verbal interchange left me wanting more, and interested in seeing what happened next.
The second was the man with a bottle of Old Spice cologne stuck up his rear....... oh, the stories!!
As a person with a forty-year career in a Medical field ( just recently retired), I am an easy touch for a Medical yarn, with a few of my own to contribute.
I highly recommend this story, but be warned that there are both gore, nasty smells, and large helpings of philosophy and American law and jurisprudence.
A WONDERFUL READ!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Less than inspiring

I read a great number of books written by doctors and surgeons. My interest is mainly technical, in a sense... I find the explanations of medical conditions, their diagnosis, and their treatment, to be interesting, even though I am not in the medical field (I'm an electrical engineer).

Unfortunately, Dr. Paul Ruggieri's book was big disappointment... and ultimately, a bit annoying. Dr. Ruggieri starts out, as most of these books do, to write a memoir of his training as a surgeon, and his practice as a surgeon after training. Early on, in the book, I detected a tinge of narcissism, as Ruggieri began to rail on about the changes in the training of surgeons, from when HE went through a much tougher, more exhausting regimen before medical education reforms. While one might expect some criticisms of what a doctor would be expected to find faulty in today's health care systems and practices, we shouldn't expect such negative perceptions to be all-consuming.

The attitude he expressed during the course of the book only continued to decline... what began as 'navel gazing' morphed into cynicism, and then to a maudlin, depressing expression of his own attitude towards his career.

By the time I finished the book, I had to wonder why this man became a surgeon at all... and if I was in need of general surgery, he'd be the very last person I'd pick to entrust my life to. Most memoirs written by doctors are uplifting; they represent professionals who are optimistic and enthusiastic about their chosen profession.. this one was dour and depressing. What Dr. Ruggieri forgets is that attitude is every bit as essential a quality in a surgeon, as technical skill and ability.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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What is the white code of silence?

Ruggieri escorts us down a cold sterile hall to the O.R. as he enters hearing cracking ribs of a blonde boy undergoing CPR greet him as he exclaims “what the hell happened?” How forgoing relationships, romance or fun is common (surgery is a way of life).

Surgery is an exclusive club and the fuel is coffee and fear. Surgeons are the closest things to gods and showing weakness is not an option unless you desire to be devoured. I watched the actions mainly and admired these stone sentinels of self-reliance---who had to be in control of all outcomes.

Ruggieri’s description is symphonic and I find something ambrosial in his ovary exam description being like “a bowl of warm jelly.” The white code of silence is substantive and illustrates why we may desire to consult “pro publica” pre-surgery. Brilliant surgical prose within. Buy it!

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Another arrogant doctor

I didn't like the book. Same stories and fyi you guys are not God. Just another day in OR.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great read

Eye opening. Unapologetically truthful. Humbling. Impactful. Will definitely recommend this to anyone. Will have to listen to this book again.