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Article |

Surgery as a Human Experience.

Donald Oken, M.D.
AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(5):588-589. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590110112015.
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This volume is a small book with a big goal. Written primarily for surgeons and their co-workers (rather than psychiatrists), it attempts to integrate basic psychiatric and surgical principles in a way which will be useful to them in their understanding and working with their patients. More specifically, it presents an exploration of “the psychological experience of the human being when he faces and then undergoes an operation.” Much of the material included derives from the personal experience of the authors, as members of a multidisciplinary research team which conducted an intensive psychosocial study of 200 randomly selected patients, hospitalized on the surgical wards at the Cincinnati General Hospital. Thus, it is grounded on firsthand knowledge, and is no armchair psychologizing.

How successful have the authors been in fulfilling their important but formidable purpose? (Of necessity, this reviewer can only estimate this indirectly, since he is not a surgeon but,


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