On Call: A Rural Surgeon's Story
by J. Lottmann, MD

"In reflecting on my career as a rural surgeon, all of these skills and talents match the requirements to do well in that setting."

In this richly detailed and candid memoir, Lottmann reflects upon her career as a rural surgeon. How she got there and her accomplishments during this time are recounted here, where Lottmann examines the complexities and rewards that come with this profession and what it means to be not just a rural surgeon but a female one. Raised on a Minnesota dairy farm, small-town life is already familiar and comfortable for Lottmann when she escapes the busy Chicago city life to Sparta, Wisconsin, following the completion of her medical training. In Sparta, she establishes and devotes herself fully to her chosen vocation from 1981 until her retirement in 2011. Throughout these years, she highlights her love for and dedication to small-town medicine. Specifically, she aims to portray the uniqueness of rural surgery practice from that of urban practices.

Lottman doesn't hold back. Details of patients' cases are visceral, and she impresses upon the reader the grueling years of study and hard work required of medical school. She deals frankly with the stigma of being a woman in a stereotypically male-dominated profession. She recalls the stresses and joys of working in the medical field, hospital politics and legal complications, her personal health issues and life, and struggles with marriage and family. She explores her faith and the strength it provides to her whole being as a surgeon. With a thoroughly accessible narrative, one easily follows Lottmann's story, even with heavy medical jargon and descriptions. She captures her experiences true to life as if one was there in real-time. A few black and white photographs allow the reader a small glimpse into Lottman's early life in residency and as a surgeon. This solid read is valuable, especially for anyone considering and heeding the call to small-town medicine.

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