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Counting Backwards

A moving exploration of the most common but most mysterious procedure in medicine. For many of the 40 million Americans who undergo anesthesia each year, it is the source of great fear and fascination. In Counting Backwards, Dr. Henry Jay Przybylo an anesthesiologist with more than thirty years of experience has written an unforgettable account of the routine procedure's daily dramas and fundamental mysteries. Przybylo has administered anesthesia more than 30,000 times in his career erasing consciousness, denying memory, and immobilizing the body before reversing all of these effects on newborn babies, screaming toddlers and sullen teenagers, his own son, and even a gorilla. With compassion and candor, he weaves his experiences into intimate stories that explore the nature of consciousness, the politics of pain relief, and the wonder of modern medicine. Through its intense and humane tales of mistakes, near-disasters, life-saving successes, and moments of grace, Counting Backwards shines a light on one of the most fascinating but unexplored corners of the medical world.
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About the Author

Henry Jay Przybylo, MD, is an associate professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University School of Medicine. He also holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.


"In a fascinating new memoir, an anaesthetist reveals what goes on beyond the operating theatre doors..." -- The Daily Mail "... his [Henry Jay Przybylo's] professional memoir Counting Backwards puts him within the esteemed company of other surgeon writers, such as the London neurosurgeon Henry Marsh and America's Atul Gawande." -- i paper

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