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Scalpel in the Sand [Kindle Edition]

Rene Chang
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

René Chang worked as a surgeon at the ultra-modern Riyadh Military Hospital, Saudi Arabia between 1979 and 1989. This book records his experience of working amongst, and interacting with ordinary people. It is a time-capsule of a period of great changes. He participated in the development of new services – a kidney transplant programme that achieved international renown; a comprehensive hospital-wide Nutrition Support Service; the Major Disaster Response Plan for KKIA; and seminal research which caught the attention of the medical world. He had the rare privilege of teaching the first group of Saudi women to graduate as doctors. Thus, he was well placed to observe the ‘green shoots’ of women’s emancipation and also their problems.
This book should contribute to improving relations between the West and the Muslim Arabs.

‘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 professional for L’Unita, IlSole24Ore, Grazia, La Repubblica, Il Foglio.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Scalpel in the right place 27 Sept. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Although I had the privilege to be trained and work under the supervision of Mr Chang and adding to that the privilege of reviewing his book Arabic quotations, my opinion about his book (Scalpel in the Sand) doesn't not carry any bias whatsoever. As a personality, Mr Chang is very successful model for not only surgeons but also any medical and non-medical professional. His personal characteristics (honesty, strictness, directness, unwavering justice, commitment and consistency) makes the book a real addition to the human library. While I learnt a lot from Mr Chang in my practical life with him, I learnt even more after reading his book as a human being seeking good values and understanding others in addition to professional maturation roadmaps. I would suggest that every Medical and non-medical institutes' library should have this book available on its shelves as well as electronically available. This book offer a unique opportunity to know in a very independent and impartial view about Saudi Arabia professional and social life and offer a rare valuable and currently unavailable opportunity to clarify the myth and misunderstanding in the west about this part of the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insight 27 Sept. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I was a medical student at the same time as Mr Chang in a different Medical School. I never thought about how the students from overseas were feeling, now I know. The same discrimination, which also applied to women at the time, continued after graduation and led to Saudi Arabia. The author was well placed to understand the lot of women in Saudi Arabia. Mr Chang is very open about his thoughts and feelings on this subject and it is this, together with the chapter on how his family came to be in Malaysia, then England, which makes it such a fascinating book to read. For an non surgeon it also provides insight into how a surgeon trains and develops into a different sort of human being.
It is probably best read by people with some medical knowledge, but there is plenty in it for those without.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scalpel in the sand. 15 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed reading this book.I am a doctor who like the author travelled in many places and worked as a physician.
Reading this book Saudi Arabia becomes alive as the surgical and research skills of the author.
Mr Chang had a fascinating time there , he has clarity and fun in writing about the fascinating events.
Another culture, system,climate comes alive, in one of the richest countries in the world wher initiative seems to be encouraged and appreciated.I recommend it as an excellent read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Informative 14 April 2013
By V Jules - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
It is a pleasant and rare discovery to find a book that not only entertains, but also educates. Such is the case with Dr. Chang's thoroughly engaging work, Scalpel in the Sand, which primarily focuses on his memoirs of being a surgeon in Saudi Arabia. While I expected to learn something of the middle eastern culture, I was additionally treated to a wealth of easy to understand medical procedures and processes ranging from transplants to diagnostics. As a bonus, Dr. Chang includes his personal family background, his experiences in pursuit of a medical degree in London, and the circumstances that enabled him to spend a decade in Saudi Arabia to become a gifted surgeon and physician. I highly recommend this to others to read it for enjoyment and to learn something new!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Surgeon 29 Oct. 2011
By hew foo thin - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This truly is remarkable. A little Chinese boy from Kuala Lumpur, in the fifties attended a Catholic School. In the sixties, studied in a university in London and became a surgeon. However he could not find a job in London, and in 1979 landed a job in Saudi Arabia, as a surgeon. Turned out that this was the best thing to have happened, as he was thrust into an environment where everything was possible. This is his story of his 10 years as a surgeon in the Riyadh Military Hospital.

And what do we know about the Saudis? This is a good place to start. You will be surprised.

Do not miss the chapter on Idiosyncrasies and Oddities. It has some revealingly funny anecdotes. Who do you think was the greatest tourist agent ever? Find out in this chapter.

Those of us who are thinking of a job overseas, this book is definitely required reading.

The author, Rene Chang, emphasized many times the important ability to learn from books. You will learn a lot from his while being entertained.
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