David Jackson’s Surgeon in the Raw


I picked up Jackson’s memoir about life as a surgeon in the UK because at one time I wanted to go into medicine (I didn’t). Jackson has lived his life all over the world doing what he loves — surgery, practicing medicine. (Why they call it practicing, I don’t know given that the doctor is not doing a trial run on a patient but the real thing). The reader gets a bird’s eye view of the places he visited along with some more intimate detail on some places. He operated in the surgery theater in various locales, including the Falklands during the war, when he stationed in Army.

Surgeon in the Raw is not for the faint hearted as the memoir contains extremely graphic pictures of some of the patients he has operated on. The memoir may not open on older Kindles. It would not open on mine, which is one of the first smaller Kindle paperwhites. I used my iPad. While a reader does not have to any prior medical training to navigate the narrative, some knowledge would be helpful. If not, at least have Google or another search engine handy. Jackson defines some terms but not all. It is a densely-packed memoir covering a lot of years of surgical and non-surgical treatment of patients as well as the author’s early formative years and some about his parents and theirs.

Jackson’s writing is clear and crisp. While operating and treating patients, he maintains reserve (not unlike the so-called Brit’s stiff upper lip but not quite the same), he does not mince words in the narrative. He does have an innate sense of humor that comes out in the retelling of some of his misadventures. Surgeon in the Raw was informative and at times entertaining.

The one thing that would have been helpful would have been a chart or table of the types of UK medical personnel and their ranks as their is clearly an hierarchy unlike that in the U.S.