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Books, Journals, New Media
June 2, 1999

MASHMASH: An Army Surgeon in Korea

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by Otto F. Apel, Jr, and Pat Apel, 222 pp, with illus, $25, ISBN 0-8131-2070-5, Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, 1998.

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JAMA. 1999;281(21):2051-2052. doi:10.1001/jama.281.21.2051-JBK0602-3-1

Dr Otto Apel waited 50 years to write a superb book about his role as a surgeon in Korea assigned to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). His memories are as crisp as the 50 or more photographs that document his service at the 8076th MASH and vividly portray the basis for the popular movie and television series. Dr Apel, incidentally, served as consultant to the producers of the television series M*A*S*H.

The author was an all-American football player at Columbia University and a young surgical resident, unexpectedly called to active duty with the army. In training to become a civilian surgeon, he suddenly became part of a depleted and inexperienced Army Medical Corps fighting a war. Nevertheless, the young force established standards of patient care and survival goals higher than those of their World War II predecessors and reached them.

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