A Nanaimo doctor-turned-writer is releasing his second book about an antihero doctor who uses “flexible methods to achieve honourable ends.”
On Oct. 8 Lawrence Winkler is holding an online Zoom reading of his new book, The Next Casebook of Doctor Sababa. The book follows Dr. Sababa, a Vancouver Island doctor who solves the most challenging cases at the fictional Harbour City Regional Hospital.
“All of his cases are difficult and have extended historical and cultural meaning, so every reader can sort of appreciate the nuances,” Winkler said. “But they’re always cases that other physicians have not been able to solve and Sababa does it with panache and élan.”
Winkler worked at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for 25 years and encountered about 5,000 rare diseases during his career. He said many of the cases in the book came from his own clinical experience and practice, and in the book they are tied together by recurring themes like the four humours and the four seasons. Yet despite some apparent similarities between Winkler and his protagonist, the author said they are very different.
“Sababa is the specialist I would have liked to have been,” he said. “But on my very best day I couldn’t match his skills on his worst day.”
Winkler said he wrote seven or eight books before finding the courage to look back on his medical career and do something that would “leave some legacy about that.” Winkler said his Sababa books are a bit nostalgic, as they reflect on an “iconic” time for medical practice that he said will never be repeated.
“When I was a specialist in internal medicine we were considered super specialists and you could swing a cat when you walked into a room and get things done,” he said. “And slowly and inevitably, I guess, that style of medical practice has been succeeded by committees and computer algorithms and artificial intelligence and the cult of collaboration and so my era of medical practice is coming to an end.”
WHAT’S ON … Lawrence Winkler’s The Next Casebook of Doctor Sababa Zoom reading takes place on Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. at https://virl.zoom.us/j/8026322551. The meeting ID is 802 632 2551.