• Confessions of a Surgeon

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated...Life Behind the O.R. Doors
  • By: Paul A. Ruggieri MD
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (256 ratings)

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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)

What listeners say about Confessions of a Surgeon

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  • Overall
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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.

20 people found this helpful

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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!

8 people found this 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.

3 people found this 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.

7 people found this helpful

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Droning and Jaded

In my time with this book, I felt it fell flat in terms of captivating me from any perspective other than pessimism. As someone in the healthcare field, I understand the struggles presented here. However, this publication drones on, and on about certain facets that we all know and accept. The others conclusion does encapsulate what many feel but the lack of optimism or proposition of a different path really leaves me walking away from this one disparaged.

1 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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worthless as a broken debakey

Self-absorbed old-school surgeon bitches endlessly (and repetitively) about the "good old days." Good for my long drive because the sheer annoyance kept me awake and arguing.

2 people found this helpful

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Good start - then “Woe Is Me”

Enjoyed first 2/3 last 1/3 a bit too much “Woe is Me”. I’m sure the generation of General Surgeons prior to Dr. Ruggieri had very similar attitude about the next generation is Surgeons not measuring up.

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TEAM Work

I really enjoyed this book except for the rant he goes on about not wanting to be part of a team while in the operating room. I’m sorry…. As a very experienced RN, including many years in the OR, all of your knowledge and skills mean little if you don’t have your OR team there to assist you, doctor. Just the same way as all of our collective knowledge and skill means little if you aren’t there. Other than this one aspect that got me a little bit hot under the collar, I really enjoyed listening to this book and hearing and insightful perspective from the surgeon’s point of view.

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Great book.

As an Operating room nurse, this look into a surgeon's perspective of surgery was very interesting.