"Trauma and Tenacity in Vietnam: A Surgeon's Story," is the compelling account of a young surgeon’s unique Vietnam War deployment. The author, a news correspondent and college professor, Dr. Mary Jane Ingui, conducted extensive research to bring Capt. Sheldon Kushner MD’s experiences to life. Dr. Kushner is a native Alabaman who now lives in the Mobile area, grew up in Montgomery in the home once owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and studied medicine at the University of Alabama Medical School.
Through letters, reel-to-reel tape recordings, slides and personal interviews, Dr. Ingui captures the defining period in Dr. Kushner’s medical life: his stationing in Vinh Long, Vietnam, from 1968-69. When we think of the Vietnam War and medicine, the M*A*S*H image of treating American soldiers wounded in combat tends to come to mind. However, what is singular about Dr. Kushner’s experiences is that he used his medical skills to care for wounded Vietnamese civilians. Dr. Kushner effectively participated in an effort by our government to showcase America’s compassion and win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people by improving their health conditions.
Most of the letters and tapes utilized in the writing of this book reflect the emotions of an inexperienced 26-year old physician, overwhelmed and under-prepared for the horrors of a brutal war that he did not understand. Dr. Kushner’s service had profound effect on him, both physically and mentally, as he struggled to deal with the insensitivity, contempt and hatred conveyed by some people who did not serve in Vietnam and did not understand.
It was truly the defining period of Dr. Kushner’s life. He concludes about his time in Vietnam: "We did a lot of surgery and saved a lot of people's lives. We filled a great humanitarian need."
Gold Award (FAPA) - As a memoir using the letters of Dr. Kushner
Silver Award (FAPA) - For cover design
(Florida Authors and Publishers Association, August 2018)
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