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Scalpel in the Sand: Memoir of a Surgeon in Saudi Arabia: 1 [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Rene W.S. Chang
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Sep 2011
Scalpel in the Sand is an autobiographical account of a young surgeon during his ten years (1979 89) working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His time in Arabia coincided with the expansion of medical and surgical care in the country. He worked within the environment of an ultra-modern hospital with state-of -the-art facilities, the Riyadh Military Hospital. He had to adapt to the very different epidemiology of surgical diseases of a Middle Eastern country. There were many opportunities to participate in innovative and challenging projects and activities: 1. The kidney transplant service achieved international renown; 2. The nutrition support service was the first comprehensive and hospital-wide service in the Middle East; 3. The seminal research of the Riyadh Intensive Care Program on futility in intensive care caught the medical world s attention; 4. Treating the injured from the Mecca Seige of 1979; 5. Setting up the Major Disaster Response Plan for the King Khaled International Airport, Riyadh which was put to use in the First Gulf War; 6. The book is a time capsule of a period, twenty years ago, when great changes were taking place in Saudi Arabia. The stories of his close and daily encounters among, and interaction with, the local people, colleagues, students, patients, and members of the Saudi royal family provides observations of a way of life and a culture very different from what is familiar in the West. 7. He presents a view that is often contrary to the conventional wisdom of the West and in so doing he hopes to adjust perceptions that will bridge the gap between the West and the Muslim Arab peoples 8. The author had the privilege of teaching the first group of women doctors to graduate providing a rare opportunity to make observations of the issues confronting Saudi women in their struggle for emancipation, their green shoots of success and their continuing problems. 9. Back to Beginnings is a stand-alone chapter at the end of the book which puts the author in context: his family background, growing up in the mixed cultures of colonial Malaya, relocation to the UK for his medical and surgical training. What is the Chang sign in kidney transplant? What has kidney transplantation to do with motorway design? Can you imagine the author as a Saudi Arabian prince? What converted the author to holistic medicine? What ethical issues were encountered as a surgeon in Arabia? How does one survive ten years in a Saudi Arabian hospital? What happened at the Mecca Siege? How do Saudi Arabians behave in formal and informal occasions? How does a surgeon become a marketing guru? How to capture the Middle Eastern market in enteral nutrition? Why is the prediction of death more useful than the prediction of survival? What is Saudi champagne? What is Sidiki? What are the ingredients of a hospital's Major Disaster Response Plan.

Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: UFT Press; 1 edition (12 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956911900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956911902
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,294,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

René Chang is the author of two books - Scalpel in the Sand about his time as aurgeon in Saudi Arabia and Watergate - The Political assassination, the result of over twenty years of thinking about Nixon, Watergate and the inconsistencies in the official account.

His other projects include the new Board Game - LifeStyles The Health Education Game. The game uses the associations between LifeStyles (Healthy Lifestyles and Health Hazards) and Medical conditions. Players become knowledgeable after playing for 30 minutes. There are three categories of Game Cards: Substance Abuse, Exercise and Diets and finally Sex Education.

Since retiring in December 2009, he now has the time to do the things he never had time to do in the past. Please go to his company websites http://uftpress.com and http://uftstore.co.uk to discover his other projects.

Excerpts from his Biographical details:

Name: René Wen Suen Chang
Address: 7 College Gardens
Dulwich
London SE21 7BE
Telephone: 081-693-3714
Email: renechang@btinternet.com
Degrees and Qualifications:
BSc (Special) Physiology, King's College, University of London
MB BS, Westminster Medical School, University of London
F.R.C.S. (England), Royal College of Surgeons (England)
Master of Surgery, University of London
Awards: Entrance Scholarship to Westminster Medical School
Federal Scholarship (Malaysian Government)
Bernard Sunley Research Fellowship, RCS (England)
Present Appointment:
Author/Director, Useful and Fun Things Limited
Past Appointments:
1. Founding Director of Transplantation, St George's Hospital, London
2. Lecturer/Senior Registrar, Academic Surgical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London
3. Consultant Surgeon, Riyadh Military Hospital, Saudi Arabia
4. Clinical Tutor (Postgraduate/undergraduate), King Faisal University, Damman, King Saud University, College of Medicine, Riyadh
5. Consultant Transplant Surgeon, St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey
6. Scientific Advisor/Consultant to 2nd Consensus Conference of the European Society of Intensive Care, Fujisawa GmbH, Eli Lilly, Hoffman La Roche, Glaxo-Wellcome, Qinetiq, Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, UK,
7. Chairman, South Thames Transplant Group - 1992-1994
8. Visiting Professor, George Washington University, Washington DC
Teaching Experience (Undergraduate and Postgraduate):
King's College, Strand, University of London
St Bartholomew's, Westminster, St Mary's Hospitals Medical Schools, London, UK
King Saud University Medical School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
King Faisal University Colleges of Medicine, Al Khobar, Damman, Saudi Arabia
Conferences and Workshops (Organised):
Monthly Nutrition Support Service Workshop 1980-89
International Symposium on Intensive Care. Riyadh 1982
2nd International Middle East Symposium on Organ Transplantation Riyadh, 1984
Nutritional Care of the Critically Ill Patient. International Symposium at Riyadh 1987
Symposium on End-stage Renal Disease and Renal Transplantation at Riyadh 1988
Symposium - Practical Problems in Transplantation, St George's Hospital, London, 1996
Societies: British Transplantation Society
British Medical Association
Intensive Care Society (U.K.)
European Society of Intensive Care
Society of Critical Care Medicine
American Federation for Clinical Research


Publications and presentations:
Peer reviewed articles and chapters in books on tumour immunology, renal transplantation, surgical nutrition, surgical audit, intensive care, and disaster response planning.
Interviewed by international (Germany, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, USA, Canada), national (UK) and local radio (London, Scotland),and television stations (BBC Today, GMTV, BBC News 24, Cologne TV) and newspapers (Times, Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily and Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Sun, Stern, Frankfurt Zeitung, Straits Times, Sydney Morning Herald).
Educational Videos:
I scripted, directed, and produced the following educational videos:
"A day in the life of a Nutrition Support Service".
"Renal transplantation in Saudi Arabia".
"Carry On Feeding".
Computer Programs:
I designed and wrote the following computer software programs:-
Editorial Office Manager Version 1.0. 1984.
Nutrition Support Service Manager Version 2.0. 1986.
Riyadh ICU Program Version 2.30 2004
Renal Data Manager Version 3.0 2009

Read about my time in Saudi Arabia in a Kindle ebook: Scalpel in the Sand

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scalpel-in-the-Sand-ebook/dp/B0058HUFYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A3TVV12T0I6NSM&qid=1309769857&sr=1-1

I have published my 2nd book a docufiction about Nixon and Watergate a subject that had intrigued me for years. It is called Watergate - The Political Assassination. It is also available at Amazon in both the paperback and the ebook versions.





Product Description

Review

In 15 chapters the story begins with the author's arrival in Riyadh in pursuit of advancing a career in surgery after failing to make much headway in the NHS, UK. His time there coincided excitingly with the expansion of medical and surgical care in the country. His work in the provision of surgical services and in research thus took place within the environment of an ultra-modern hospital with state-of -the-art facilities, the Riyadh Military Hospital. He adapted to the very different epidemiology of surgical diseases of an Middle Eastern country providing an interesting insight. At the same time the period of expansion and modernisation gave him the opportunities to participate in innovative and challenging projects. The kidney transplant service achieved international renown; the nutrition support service was the first comprehensive and hospital-wide service in the Middle East; the seminal research of the Riyadh Intensive Care Program caught the medical world s attention. There was also his leading participation in setting up the Major Disaster Response Plan for the King Khaled International Airport which was put to use in the First Gulf War. Of necessity the chapters on his medical/surgical work used medical terminology but there is no medical jargon in the descriptions so that these chapters are not incomprehensible to the lay reader. Besides doctors, surgeons, other medical personnel, and medical students, the ordinary reader may find these parts of the book fascinating as they give an insider look into procedures and practices in modern medicine which many people may now be subject to some time in their lives. The account of a period some twenty years ago is a time capsule when great changes were taking place in Saudi Arabia. The record of the author's close and daily encounters and interaction with the local people, colleagues, students, and patients, from members of the Saudi royal family to the person-on-the-street, provides observations of a way of life and a culture very different from what is familiar in the West. From first settling in and learning the ropes he discovered and took part in a variety of leisure activities in an environment that was culturally new to him. With time he was able to learn in greater depth about the formal and informal lives of the Arabian people. The privilege he had of teaching the first batch of women medical students provided a rare opportunity to make observations at close hand of the issues confronting Saudi women in their struggle for emancipation, their green shoots of success and their continuing problems. Working and living among people of the Muslim faith had dispelled for him some of the widely believed myths about the practices of Islam. He confidently shares an accurate picture with the reader for having witnessed the actual practices first-hand. He presents a view that is contrary to the conventional wisdom of the West. The author hopes that he can help to adjust perceptions that will bridge the gap between the West and the Muslim Arab peoples. Back to Beginnings is a stand-alone chapter at the end of the book which puts the author in context: his family background, growing up in the mixed cultures of colonial Malaya, relocation to the UK, and his medical and surgical training and career there. --Rosa Chang - BA

This book is about the persistence and tenacity of a young surgeon in pursuing his dreams. Against the odds he went to Saudi Arabia to carve out a surgical career. Out there he had the most amazing experiences. He was crazy to go and was crazy to return. He signed up for two years and stayed for ten. He did return in triumph ten years later to the UK to be the Founding Director of a Transplant Centre at a London Teaching Hospital until his retirement in 2009. What is life really like in Saudi Arabia. Is it as bad as it is made out to be? Read stories of enthralling challenges, amusing anecdotes, and empathetic observations of working among a people with a very different culture from that of the UK. This is a book about life, rather than just the surgeon s operating theatre --Helen Mandefield, BSc RGN

René is a great observer of even small details which he transforms into interesting and often exhilarating stories. His communication style is unique and truly enjoyable. René builds bridges between worlds by his stories; genuine reports often twisted with some funny unpredictable nuances; a little like a contemporary Gulliver s Travels, or perhaps life itself. Gianluca Zucchelli - UK based journalist for L Unita, IlSole24Ore, Grazia, La Repubblica, Il Foglio. --Gianluca Zucchelli - UK based journalist

About the Author

Brief CV Name: René Wen Suen Chang Address: 7 College Gardens Dulwich London SE21 7BE Telephone: 081-693-3714 Email: renechang@ntlworld.com Degrees and Qualifications: BSc (Special) Physiology, King's College, University of London MB BS, Westminster Medical School, University of London F.R.C.S. (England), Royal College of Surgeons (England) Master of Surgery, University of London Awards: Entrance Scholarship to Westminster Medical School Federal Scholarship (Malaysian Government) Bernard Sunley Research Fellowship, RCS (England) Present Appointment: Director, Useful and Fun Things Limited Past Appointments: 1. Founding Director of Transplantation, St George s Hospital, London 2. Lecturer/Senior Registrar, Academic Surgical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London 3. Consultant Surgeon, Riyadh Military Hospital, Saudi Arabia 4. Clinical Tutor (Postgraduate/undergraduate), King Faisal University, Damman, King Saud University, College of Medicine, Riyadh 5. Consultant Transplant Surgeon, St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey 6. Scientific Advisor/Consultant to 2nd Consensus Conference of the European Society of Intensive Care, Fujisawa GmbH, Eli Lilly, Hoffman La Roche, Glaxo-Wellcome, Qinetiq, Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, UK, 7. Chairman, South Thames Transplant Group - 1992-1994 8. Visiting Professor, George Washington University, Washington DC Teaching Experience (Undergraduate and Postgraduate): King s College, Strand, University of London St Bartholomew's, Westminster, St Mary s Hospitals Medical Schools, London, UK King Saud University Medical School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia King Faisal University Colleges of Medicine, Al Khobar, Damman, Saudi Arabia Conferences and Workshops (Organised): Monthly Nutrition Support Service Workshop 1980-89 International Symposium on Intensive Care. Riyadh 1982 2nd International Middle East Symposium on Organ Transplantation Riyadh, 1984 Nutritional Care of the Critically Ill Patient. International Symposium at Riyadh 1987 Symposium on End-stage Renal Disease and Renal Transplantation at Riyadh 1988 Symposium - Practical Problems in Transplantation, St George s Hospital, London, 1996 Societies: British Transplantation Society British Medical Association Intensive Care Society (U.K.) European Society of Intensive Care Society of Critical Care Medicine American Federation for Clinical Research Publications and presentations: Peer reviewed articles and chapters in books on tumour immunology, renal transplantation, surgical nutrition, surgical audit, intensive care, and disaster response planning. Interviewed by international (Germany, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, USA, Canada), national (UK) and local radio (London, Scotland), television stations (BBC Today, GMTV, BBC News 24, Cologne TV) and newspapers (Times, Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily and Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Sun, Stern, Frankfurt Zeitung, Straits Times, Sydney Morning Herald). Educational Videos: I scripted, directed, and produced the following educational videos: A day in the life of a Nutrition Support Service. Renal transplantation in Saudi Arabia. Carry On Feeding. Computer Programs: I designed and wrote the following computer software programs:- Editorial Office Manager Version 1.0. 1984. Nutrition Support Service Manager Version 2.0. 1986. Riyadh ICU Program Version 2.30 2004 Renal Data Manager Version 3.0 2009

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book! 17 Dec 2011
By Kim
Format:Paperback
Author, Rene Chang bases his book 'Scalpel in the Sand' over a ten year span spent advancing his career working as a Surgeon in Saudi Arabia. Fragments of the authors life in Malaysia and the United Kingdom are integrated throughout the book developing a nice intersection of cultures.

The book takes you on a journey on a road that is less travelled. It reflects upon numerous events happening within the workplace as well as sharing stories of travels to a different country and adapting to new cultures and ways of life.
The journey deals with aspirations, frustrations, emotions, motivations, commitments and raises your awareness to possibilities in life. The events that take place within the memoir are a beautiful balance of both professional and personal experiences.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. This book would be extremely beneficial to those within the Medical Profession. I myself am not from the Medical Profession and found this to be an engaging and enjoyable book. It is easy to read, honest and a great story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 14 July 2013
By beandoc
Format:Paperback
Renes unique experiences in Saudi are a must read for anyone involved in medicine or who is interested in nephrology/transplantation. A thoroughly fascinating and well written account of Renes interesting perspectives on Saudi life and medicine in the Middle East, and on lessons learned in setting up new/innovative projects. Anyone who knows Rene will doubtless recall his energy and enthusiasm for medicine which shines through the narrative. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every word and picked up several gems of information contained therein. Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of a young talented surgeon in Saudi 11 Jun 2012
By Bentley
Format:Paperback
This is the story of a very talented physician and surgeon, who unable to progress his career in the UK (one suspects there was an element of establishment racism at play but Mr Chang is far too polite to say this), sets off to Saudi Arabia to work at the military hospital. To the uninitiated this may sound like a bleak choice, but Mr Chang was given the resources and responsibility to set up and run a brand new transplant unit, in facilities Dr's in the UK could only dream about. The new centre rapidly achieves world class success levels, and this together with Mr Chang's innovative research, puts the military hospital on the map as a centre of excellence. Along the way we are entertained with stories of expat life in 1980's Riyadh, and a sympathetic and understanding picture is painted of life alongside the Saudi's. The book is well written and offers an alternative view of the local populace to the one peddled in the tabloid press. Well worth a read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential read for any Saudi expat 22 Aug 2013
By Allison
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic read. Well balanced with the right mix of personal and professional observations. It was refreshing to read an expat account of life in Saudi Arabia untinged by negativity
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars non-medic review 14 July 2012
By SG
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the book hoping to learn about life in Saudi from a westerner working with the local people. However, the author was a surgeon in the military hospital in Riyadh and the book is largely about the operations and duties he carried out there. I skimmed looking for insights into the local culture but found very little. I can't quite say I hated the book, but it was a great disappointment, very tediously and/or technically written (to the extent that there is a two page list of abbreviations, most of them medical, and four pages of medical terms) and, I felt, only of real interest to medics.
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