Morris A. Robbins, M.D. was a well-known, highly-respected orthopedic surgeon, who practiced medicine in New Jersey for more than half a century. He is also a man who suffered a crippling accident as a teenager, an event that resulted in amputation of his left hand and permanent limitations for his right hand. During his lifetime, Doc repeatedly was asked about the obvious handicap, so he decided to write it all down. This book is a story of inspiration and instruction.
The Life and Times of a One-Armed Surgeon is divided into parts. First, he records his memories of growing up on a farm and in a small New Jersey village. Local historians have found this information useful and interesting, as much of it has disappeared. The chilling account of being burned by high voltage wires, and the painful aftermath is followed by a heroic pursuit of his life's dream of becoming a surgeon. Doc describes his life as a small-town country doctor. In an age before privacy restrictions, his every move was reported in the local papers.
As his practice expanded, Doc was much in demand for his professional services. Despite his acceptance by patients, he experienced severe disappointments from the old guard medical community. He describes this candidly, and without bitterness. He gives an honest assessment of the state of medicine during his lifetime, and offers suggestions that ring true today.
Throughout the book, Doc's modest words are supplemented by additional material curated by his daughter, Dorothy Robbins Talavera. Drawing from documents found in Doc's files after his death, along with newspaper clippings, correspondence, family archives and first-hand stories from people who new her father, she adds personal insight into what makes Doc's career so remarkable. Talavera honors her father's work by bringing his autobiography into publication.