BOOK REVIEW: Well, Doc, It Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time: The Unexpected Adventures of a Trauma Surgeon by J. Paul Waymack


Title: Well, Doc, It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time: The Unexpected Adventures of a Trauma Surgeon
Author: J. Paul Waymack
Publication: November 5, 2017
Publisher: Lighted Candle Society
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 286

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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

In 1976, Paul Waymack began chronicling his experience as a third-year medical student, and for the next 20 years, he kept a journal filled with crazy stories of unusual patients, maladies, and international espionage. Some of them, he’s the first to admit, seem unbelievable–like chasing a naked patient around the ER parking lot in the middle of the night . . . or constructing a horse sling for a 700-pound patient . . . or treating a patient who swallowed a cigarette lighter . . . or serving as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Cold War, on orders of the president and with a KGB agent hot on his tail in the Soviet Union. In his wildest dreams, Dr. Waymack could never have imagined most of what he experienced as a doctor, but these stories are all true. He couldn’t have made them up if he tried.


I am an EMT.  I love reading medical books to learn new things.  They don’t have to be procedural or anything of that nature. I like reading about people’s experiences.  I was excited when my parents got me this book as a Christmas gift.  I was excited to read it and started it that night…it may have taken me a few weeks to read it but sometimes my time is not my own. 

Dr. Waymack started journaling his life when he was in med school and doing his residency.  It was something that he continued to well after.  A friend told him he should make it into a book.  It got the hamster moving on the wheel.  The product of the journaling makes for a sweeping book.  This book was fascinating.  I learned things about burn victims and scientific research that I didn’t know.  The fact that his heart transplant rat survived for such a long time.  Became a pediatric burn ward “calmer” and later became a beloved pet to one of the nurse’s sons.  

The story also covers his time in the US Army.  He ran the only burn-specific hospital in the world.  They would fly burn victims from all over the world.  He also documents his time in Russia when he went over there to help with a large-scale burn event where there were hundreds of people burned.  Reading about how Russia does healthcare and how far behind the times they are made me appreciate my healthcare even more.  We of course have our shortcomings but we are not at the level Russia is/was.  This book is well written.  It is written in such a way that you feel like the author is just having a normal conversation with you, I chalk that up to it being a journal the author wrote.  I think when you journal you write things in a way that you will understand at a later date when you read back over them.  I think this author has more books out, I will check them out when I get a chance. 

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