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Sir Archibald Mclndoe and plastic surgery are synonymous. Most people know of the brilliant New Zealand surgeon's work during the war, when scores of disfigured Servicemen went to the Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead for repairs. Few people, however, are aware of the personal side of Sir Archibald's life, a life full of incident and unconventionality.

Adding to the colour, there is the story of Mclndoe's "Guinea Pigs", as he affectionately called his patients, characters like Czech flyer Frankie Truhiar, who insisted on going into combat without his flying boots and helmet, and who suffered the consequences of burning when he crashed; Raz the Russian, appalled by his -failure" and having been treated in a "bourgeois" hospital; and Richard Hillary, the intellectual fighter-pilot, who with Mclndoe tried to speed up America's entry into the war by taking his scarred face to the States, with disconcerting results...

There is also the story of the two people who with Mclndoe made up the most famous surgical team in the world-the vivacious and attractive Jill Mullins, who was MIndoe's No. I assistant, and John Hunter, the anaesthetist who overcame his own suffering to help others.

Revealed for the first time are the secret visits to Mclndoe's surgery by the famous, by stars of the film world-and by Royalty. Whether they were famous or not, rich or poor, the standard of Mclndoe's work never varied, and much of the atmosphere of that famous theatre at East Grinstead is brought to life; the thick, stubby fingers which achieved the ultimate in delicate "embroidery" upon the faces of hundreds are not difficult to imagine at their work, repairing the ravages of war and the mistakes of Nature.

Here is the man as well as physician, an objective portrait which reveals his mercurial life for the first time. It will take its place among the most readable biographies of today and serve as an inspiration to anyone who feels he has a vocation.
1961 hardcover
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  • Seller location: Waitakere City, Auckland, NZ

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