Each surgical student and resident in every training program might be assumed to have a full-time occupation: the study of surgery. But a time-and-a-half preoccupation for each is a focus, in fact, beyond assumption: an intense fascination in the surgeon-in-chief. For better or for worse, the thought processes, preferences, foibles, modus vivendi, motivations, and moods of the surgical chief are communicated to trainees and often emulated by them even more directly, or long after changing, the learned techniques for patient problem solving. Role modeling remains the most potent means of surgical leadership, passing on, in the words of Dr Francis D. Moore, "our surgical DNA" to the next generation of aspirants to the art.
I had eagerly awaited the arrival of A Miracle and a Privilege: Recounting a Half Century of Surgical Advance in this continuing absorption with the life of a great educator in the era of rapid expansion