Poet and author Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz was awarded at 2004 Hamptons International Film Festival screenwriting grant for her project Mütter, a look at the extraordinary life of one of America's most infamous and unusual medical doctors.
Now, that script has become a novel. Based on 15 years of research and illustrated with dozens of historical (and exclusive) photographs, DR. MÜTTER’S MARVELS: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine (Gotham; September 4, 2014) delves deep into the life of a man who was truly ahead of his time. The novel reveals Mütter’s early years as an orphan and time spent studying cutting-edge surgery in Paris, to his struggles to establish himself in Philadelphia amidst the outrageous rivalries among his fellow doctors—many of whom publicly mocked Mütter’s philosophies and innovations (including his devotion to pre- and post-operative care, employing anesthesia, and even the sterilization of his tools).
And through Mütter’s humanist eyes, we are given a front row seat to the evolution of American medicine: from bleedings and leechings to the standardization of medical schools; from the discovery of anesthesia to his community’s frustrating resistance to washing hands and sterilizing tools; from the unimaginable medical cases provoked from the rise of industrialism, to the challenges and innovations birthed as the country marched toward the Civil War.
Although he only lived for 47 years, Mütter’s impact within medicine is still felt, and his legacy lives on with his enormously popular namesake museum. And now, with DR. MÜTTER’S MARVELS, his strange, inspiring and untold story can finally be shared.