Book Excerpt: A Saga Of ‘Fishy’ Surgery For Chronic Sinus Trouble

By Carey Goldberg

Chicago medical malpractice lawyer“Crank?” was my first reaction when I saw the review copy of the new book “Scrubbed Out: Reviving the Doctor’s Role in Patient Care.” It was a slim, self-published volume with a cartoon cover and an M.D. after the author’s name. Usually, that means rosy, false promises of health panaceas.

But Dr. Salah Salman, the author, is not a crank at all. On the contrary, he’s a distinguished doctor, retired now at 75 after an impressive career in the Lebanese cabinet and in high positions at the prestigious Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. It’s just that he’s so pained and appalled by what he’s seen in the American health care system that he has decided to speak out, exposing the unnecessary surgeries, the hyped research, the passive doctors and a few who are out-and-out venal.

His book amounts to a medical cri de coeur — “This is not how it should be!” — and more than anything, it reminds me of a phenomenon called “samizdat” in the old Soviet Union: Manuscripts written by dissidents because conscience would not allow them to remain silent, even though they knew the Communist regime would never allow them to be officially published. Things would have been different if they’d had e-books and print-on-demand back then.


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