The Love Surgeon: A Story of Trust, Harm, and the Limits of Medical Regulation (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine) (Paperback)

The Love Surgeon: A Story of Trust, Harm, and the Limits of Medical Regulation (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine) Cover Image
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Dr. James Burt believed women’s bodies were broken, and only he could fix them. In the 1950s, this Ohio OB-GYN developed what he called “love surgery,” a unique procedure he maintained enhanced the sexual responses of a new mother, transforming her into “a horny little house mouse.” Burt did so without first getting the consent of his patients. Yet he was allowed to practice for over thirty years, mutilating hundreds of women in the process.

It would be easy to dismiss Dr. Burt as a monstrous aberration, a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein. Yet as medical historian Sarah Rodriguez reveals, that’s not the whole story. The Love Surgeon asks tough questions about Burt’s heinous acts and what they reveal about the failures of the medical establishment: How was he able to perform an untested surgical procedure? Why wasn’t he obliged to get informed consent from his patients? And why did it take his peers so long to take action?

The Love Surgeon is both a medical horror story and a cautionary tale about the limits of professional self-regulation.

About the Author

SARAH B. RODRIGUEZ is a medical historian at Northwestern University in the Global Health Studies Program, the Department of Medical Education, and the Graduate Program in Medical Humanities and Bioethics. Her teaching and research focuses on the history of reproduction, clinical practice, and research ethics. Her publications include the book Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Practice.


Praise For…

"The Love Surgeon is an important, riveting story that has great relevance to contemporary issues in medical ethics and science policy. Rodriguez has drawn on a broad range of sources to create a lively and engaging book."
— Heather Munro Prescott

"We need thoughtful medical historians to counter assumed narratives, and Sarah Rodriguez proves exactly why journalists’ accounts fail us. Taking the normative account of a 'love surgeon,' Rodriguez weaves a brilliant accounting of medical regulation and the structure of surgical innovation with journalists’ responses to a seemingly 'one off' horror story of the medicalizing of women’s bodies and patients’ experiences. She provides an exemplary history of medicine book that ought to be read and taught widely."
— Susan M. Reverby

"The Love Surgeon is a brilliant exposition of the hazards of medical entrepreneurship and the 'consumerification' of American health care.  Sarah Rodriguez tells us the intertwined stories of James Burt, a gynecological surgeon skilled at self-promotion, the patients who trusted him, and the colleagues who tried to stop him. She documents, with perceptive, sobering detail, how existing traditions of informed consent and medical self-regulation failed to rein in this self-styled 'Love Doctor.' By showing why it took so long to get Burt’s medical license revoked, Rodriguez exposes  problems with medical self-governance and patient education that still beset us. This book should be required reading for every new physician."  
— Nancy Tomes

"New Books Network - New Books in Medicine" interview with Sarah B. Rodriguez
— New Books Network - New Books in Medicine

"Rodriguez does a commendable job of not just showing the development of the surgery, but how Burt’s views on sex influenced the procedure [and] also does an excellent job shining light on the problems women face when they must deal with a healthcare system dominated by men."
— Nursing Clio
Product Details
ISBN: 9781978800953
ISBN-10: 1978800959
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: July 17th, 2020
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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