The hand and its relationship to human identity
Over the twenty years that Arnold Arem has worked as a reconstructive hand surgeon, he has reflected on the impact of living with pain and questions of psychic well-being in the face of crippling injury and physical deformity. He has helped many patients through his mixture of technical skill and an all-too-rare ability to simply listen to them.
In In Our Hands, Arem tells eleven extraordinary stories of the people he has treated in his practice: a boy with a birth defect for whom he fashions opposable thumbs; an elderly woman whose bizarre paralysis he recognizes as psychosomatic, leading to a cure; a man whose spirit remains intact despite the loss of both feet and one hand to Jim Henson's disease.
Each case study contains fascinating details on surgical techniques and treatments and reveals the day-to-day heroism of both doctors and patients. Above all, In Our Hands evokes the deepest issues of the relationship of the hand to the heart and human identity.