Saving the vocal cords of a noted blues musician or treating an aggressive neck cancer is all in a day’s work for ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon and medical educator Arthur Lauretano. To further his desire to help others, the doctor draws on a career’s worth of medical and personal observations to show what drives him and offers life insights that can help readers. Written in layman’s terms, the book combines the story of Lauretano’s medical career with the philosophy that evolved from it.
Lauretano begins with anecdotes about his challenging days as a medical resident. Using well-written anecdotes, hypothetical situations and book and film quotes, he then continues his theme about the importance of right behavior—whether it’s treating diverse patient populations, working with patient-oriented teams, or learning from failure.
While heavy on personal reminiscences that illustrate a successful career as both a surgeon and a musician, the author also doesn’t shy away from revealing his own foibles or mistakes. He recalls how he could have better managed patient complaints about wait times. And he remembers when he demanded a knife at the family dinner table, forgetting he wasn’t in surgery.
The author concludes with advice rarely heard from medical practitioners: Write your own obituary. Don’t leave out any accomplishments, he counsels. Then put together a bucket list to fill in the gaps, including managing any regrets about relationships.
Do the Right Thing offers solid life advice that lay readers can certainly benefit from, although some may be deterred by the frequent use of medical scenarios Lauretano uses to support his points. It’s unclear if the author is targeting general readers or aiming for medical practitioners alone; the text seems to address both at different times.
Regardless, anyone with an interest in otolaryngology (ENT) or medicine in general is sure to find helpful guidance here and the encouragement needed to “go out there and do the right thing.”
Also available as an ebook.