We are pleased to wecome Jason Karlawish as a guest in our Summer 2012 Author Series. Dr. Karlawish will join us on Thursday, July 5th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. This is a free wine and cheese event and reservations are requested. You can reserve your seat by contacting us at 231-347-1180 or sending us an email.
Dr. Karlawish is the author of Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont and will join us for a reading, signing and question and answer session. Below is a description of Open Wound, a ficional tale about medical ethics in Northern Michigan.
A shotgun misfires inside the American Fur Company store in Northern
Michigan, and Alexis St. Martin's death appears imminent. It's 1822,
and, as the leaders of Mackinac Island examine St. Martin's shot-riddled
torso, they decide not to incur a single expense on behalf of the
indentured fur trapper. They even go so far as to dismiss the attention
of U.S. Army Assistant Surgeon William Beaumont, the frontier fort's
But in the name of charity and goodness, Beaumont ignores the orders
and saves the young man's life. What neither the doctor nor his patient
understands—yet—is that even as Beaumont's care of St. Martin continues
for decades, the motives and merits of his attention are far from clear.
In fact, for what he does to his patient, Beaumont will eventually
stand trial and be judged.
Rooted deeply in historic fact, Open Wound artfully
fictionalizes the complex, lifelong relationship between Beaumont—a
prominent figure in Michigan's medical past and present—and his
illiterate French Canadian patient. The young trapper's injury never
completely heals, leaving a hole into his stomach that the curious
doctor uses as a window to understand the mysteries of digestion. Eager
to rise up from his humble origins and self-conscious that his medical
training occurred as an apprentice to a rural physician rather than at
an elite university, Beaumont seizes the opportunity to experiment upon
his patient's stomach in order to write a book that he hopes will
establish his legitimacy and secure his prosperity. As Karlawish
portrays him, Beaumont, always growing hungrier for more wealth and more
prestige, personifies the best and worst aspects of American ambition