I read A Surgeon's Life in the book An Anthropologist on Mars. I was astounded by some of the features of the story and what exactly it detailed. The piece was about a surgeon who was well recognized and respected in the community he lived in, but there was something different about him. It wasn't a certain degree he had, or a spectacular discovery he had made during his career; nor was it anything that made him a better doctor than any other in the region. His difference was that he was a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome.
Tourette's syndrome can be characterized by convulsive tics, by involuntary mimicry or repetition of others' words or actions, and by the involuntary or compulsive utterances or curses and obscenities. It also can consist of a constant testing of physical and social boundaries; a relentless, agitated reaction to the environment, a lunging at and sniffing everything around, or a sudden flinging of objects.
So, how on earth could a surgeon, who must perform such delicate, precise work have such a disorder? Well, it's possible, just ask Doctor Carl Bennett from Branford, British Columbia. Dr. Bennett could do anything that any typical person could do. He could drive, raise a family and be a successful professional. Oliver Sacks quickly found out though that Dr. Bennett's life was so unbelievably unique because of the amazing fact that he was a full blown tourette and also able to perform such great surgery.
To study Dr. Bennett's behavior, Sacks was invited to say with the Bennett family for months so that he could get the best understanding of how he lived his spectacular life. Sacks found that Dr. Bennett would skip on every fifth step when he walked, and suddenly reach to the ground, as if he was...