GETTING READY FOR RESURRECTION
Richard Selzer, a surgeon at the University of Dallas Medical School, is a “craftsman with pen and scalpel.” He writes “to search for meaning in the ritual of surgery, which is at once murderous, painful, healing and full of love.” In his book, Letters to a Young Doctor, Selzer writes about accompanying a doctor to Honduras during his residency. A young girl came to them with a cleft palate, a deformity of the lip so grotesque she would not remove from her face the cloth that shielded her imperfection. During surgery the young girl died, an unforeseen reaction to the anesthetic. At the funeral, the girl’s mother greeted Selzer with profuse thanks, for her daughter had gone to heaven with the resurrected beauty for which she had prayed. The doctor, Selzer realized, had slipped into the hospital morgue at night and completed his surgery. An act of vanity and denial, Selzer thought at first. But in the retelling of the…
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