“Have more than you show, Speak less than you know.”
– William Shakespeare
Michael Meguid’s series of books, A Surgeon’s Tale, is a historical biography that spans five decades and reaches beyond the mere personal to convey something of the cultures, people, politics, and places that touch the inscrutable heart of human nature. This multifaceted immigrant’s story percolates with tales of intrigue, scientific dishonesty, medical discoveries, illicit romance, unspeakable scoundrels, and murder all the while disclosing the rites, rituals, rules and language of surgery. It is a story of life with all its warts, love and affection—or lack of it, but ultimately, it is a story of triumph and passion.
Roots & Branches
A Family Saga Like No Other
Roots & Branches, Volume I, is rooted in a story of love and longing based on a fatal accident in an upper Egyptian village over a century ago. In this rich and powerful story Meguid explores his remarkable early life based on a journal, letters and photos, which amply illustrate the book. How does a four-year-old boy uprooted from a cozy Egyptian family endure abandonment in impoverished post-war Germany? In this vivid biography of his formative years Meguid traces his childhood—alone, forsaken and often threatened with corporal punishment. Born to an Egyptian father and a German mother, his earliest memories of Cairo are idyllic, but his mother’s refusal to adapt to Egyptian life results in upheaval. At the age of four, his parents leave him in Hamburg with his German grandparents, where life becomes defined by the rigid rules of his Prussian grandfather. The desertion leaves him with a gaping hole, howling loneliness, and a longing that ripples through him. When his parents collect him five years later, they take him to England, where once again he has to adapt to being an outsider. When he eventually returns to his beloved Egypt, he was gone so long that he no longer quite fits in. His father’s premature death thrusts Meguid into an existential crisis. Facing conscription and an uncertain future, Meguid learns to navigate his own path.
Mastering the Knife
Seeking Identity & Finding Belonging
Mastering the Knife, Volume II, of A Surgeon’s Tale, is the coming-of-age story of an Egyptian/German medical student in the hospitals of London in the 1960s. Hounded by failure, self-doubt and cultural identity he searches for his social and professional place in the world. The story masterfully goes beyond the biographical to encompass the people, language and the rituals of surgical training as the author lifts the veil on the technical and moral concerns that contribute to the making of a successful surgeon.
Surgeon and Lover
Fulfillment and Folly
Surgeon & Lover, Volume III of A Surgeon’s Tale, takes the reader through the Operating Room door and examines the egos, temperaments, circumstances, and luck that lead to successful operations. Focusing on the patient-doctor relationship, akin to a journey through humanity, the rich tapestry of stories goes beyond the personal to lay bare the naked truths of surgery. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, other time quite sad, Surgeon & Lover will resonate with the lay public.
The LeRoy Catastrophe: A story of death, determination, and the importance of nutrition in medicine.
“To this day, I wonder whether his death certificate truly reflected the cause of death: ‘physician-induced’ malnutrition.” – from The LeRoy catastrophe Below is the abstract of this article as published by The Columbia Medical Review. It can be viewed in full here....
In 2015 I published an article in the Columbia Medical Review outlining one of the most horrifying cases of hospital-induced malnutrition leading to death. You can read that article here. Years later, malnutrition in hospitalized patients persists. See the following...
First published in the Hektoen International Medical Journal. Hektoen International Journal is published by the Hektoen Institute of Medicine. To view the story online visit the Article Here. I saw two bright colored Polaroids: One pictured Rudolph, a burly coal miner...
First published in the Hektoen International Medical Journal. Hektoen International Journal is published by the Hektoen Institute of Medicine. To view the story online visit the Article Here. In August 1978 we moved to Los Angeles. The van had barely left when Zan...