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The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle…
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The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured… (edició 2022)

de Fitzharris Lindsey

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864272,570 (4.2)4
From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. The war's new weaponry, from tanks to shrapnel, enabled slaughter on an industrial scale, and given the nature of trench warfare, thousands of soldiers sustained facial injuries. Medical advances meant that more survived their wounds than ever before, yet disfigured soldiers did not receive the hero's welcome they deserved. In The Facemaker, award-winning historian Lindsey Fitzharris tells the astonishing story of the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to restoring the faces - and the identities - of a brutalized generation. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction in Sidcup, south-east England. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of doctors, nurses and artists whose task was to recreate what had been torn apart. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits. Meticulously researched and grippingly told, The Facemaker places Gillies's ingenious surgical innovations alongside the poignant stories of soldiers whose lives were wrecked and repaired. The result is a vivid account of how medicine and art can merge, and of what courage and imagination can accomplish in the presence of relentless horror.… (més)
Membre:REEnglehardt
Títol:The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I
Autors:Fitzharris Lindsey
Informació:Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I de Lindsey Fitzharris

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Excellent addition to WWI literature. The French called them gueules cassees - "broken faces." The industrialized weaponry of this war caused appalling injuries of all kinds, all the more dangerous for the filth of the trenches, wounds embedded with shredded uniforms, the absence of antibiotics or expertise in anesthesia or pain management, and the sheer numbers of afflicted men, delaying their care. While the loss of a limb might elicit sympathy, the terrible facial damage suffered by many caused visceral reactions of horror in the people who saw them and psychological traumas for the men who had lost the most visible manifestation of who they were: their faces. Eyes, noses, cheeks, lips, jaws were simply gone, torn away by bullets and shrapnel. Field hospital patch-up jobs left faces twisted, distorted, infected, scarred, unable to heal.

The Facemaker was Harold Gillies, a jovial, driven surgeon with a side line in amateur golf tournaments, who dedicated those years to caring for these men. In an age where "plastic surgery" wasn't even a widely-used phrase, he quickly understood just how complicated facial surgery was - delicate, highly vascular tissues in intricate layers of epithelium, dermis, and mucous membranes, with bony and cartilaginous structures underneath, that simply could not be stitched up like a lacerated leg. These men needed to be able to eat, to swallow, to breathe. There were few surgeons who even tried this type of work - several of them who did were dentists, who at least understood the architecture of the lower face. Gillies plunged in, experimenting, inventing, nursing along his patients, greeting new ones with a cheery: "Don't worry, sonny, you'll be all right and have as good as face as most of us before we're finished with you." He convinced military authorities to establish hospitals specifically for facial injuries, where patients could get the most rigorous specialized care - and where they were not outliers of deformity among less dramatically injured men. He hand-wrote labels to be sent to the front, instructing field staff to tag soldiers with facial injuries to be sent directly to him. He pioneered techniques of skin grafts, flaps and tubed pedicles that are standard procedures to this day. A fascinating aside is the work of a number of artists who worked alongside - notably, Henry Tonks, who created detailed drawings of these ravaged faces, to document their presentation, intermediate progress, and final results. There were women sculptors who created delicate masks of thin metal, replicating the men's original faces, to be worn over injuries that were impossible to repair - one of them was Kathleen Scott, widow of explorer Robert Falcon Scott.

Briskly written, impressively researched, Fitzharris's book also profiles a number of the patients themselves through their diaries, letters, memoirs, and family interviews. Their courage, tenacity and sometimes tragedy is deeply moving. Readers should note that the illustrations include a number of carefully chosen photographs of these men that are very difficult to look at, but in this context feel necessary to fully tell their stories.

Some years back, on a trip to London, I was able to visit the library of the Royal College of Surgeons. Serendipitously, they had a wondrous exhibit of Tonks's original drawings. This book is a terrific addition to the tragic and significant history of the Great War, its soldiers, its surgeons, and the history of medicine. ( )
  JulieStielstra | Aug 8, 2022 |
historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, medical-treatment, surgical-history, WW1, war-is-hell, war-wounds, biography, nonfiction*****

War wounds have changed little since the nineteenth century, but the medical/surgical treatment and reconstruction have changed immeasurably. There was no reliable anesthesia, no antibiotics at all, effective feeding devices as well as IV fluids (especially plasma!) burn care/grafting, in conditions including mud/degrading gasses (info later applied to defoliants in later wars) of that war. There are bits describing work in the US during their Civil War, the early work in bone grafting, and the development/inclusion of dentists in the field hospitals. This is a detailed study of one dedicated surgeon's work which became the gold standard in maxillofacial surgery and reconstruction. It will be a tough read for veterans of wars, those injured in peacetime (car accidents etc.), and the highly imaginative. Me? Been there, seen that, cared for them as an RN.
I requested and received an e-book copy without illustrations (darn!) from Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley. Thank you! ( )
  jetangen4571 | May 23, 2022 |
The story of the pioneering work done to rebuild the shattered faces of wounded soldiers could have been played for the gore aspects and shock value. Thankfully this is the opposite, taking a factual, sympathetic, and respectful tone that doesn’t shy away from the suffering, while always having a thread of hope.

While the discussions on surgical techniques and medical advances are fascinating, the heart of the narrative is the human ones from both the medical teams to the patients themselves.

A wonderfully balanced, fascinating, and engaging read. ( )
  gothamajp |
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From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. The war's new weaponry, from tanks to shrapnel, enabled slaughter on an industrial scale, and given the nature of trench warfare, thousands of soldiers sustained facial injuries. Medical advances meant that more survived their wounds than ever before, yet disfigured soldiers did not receive the hero's welcome they deserved. In The Facemaker, award-winning historian Lindsey Fitzharris tells the astonishing story of the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to restoring the faces - and the identities - of a brutalized generation. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction in Sidcup, south-east England. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of doctors, nurses and artists whose task was to recreate what had been torn apart. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits. Meticulously researched and grippingly told, The Facemaker places Gillies's ingenious surgical innovations alongside the poignant stories of soldiers whose lives were wrecked and repaired. The result is a vivid account of how medicine and art can merge, and of what courage and imagination can accomplish in the presence of relentless horror.

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