I Only Dress the Wounds

Notes of a country doctor

Ted Merrill

Even as a child, Ted Merrill was deeply fascinated with life and living things. As early as eighth grade, he was reading about medicine and discussing it with the only doctor in his tiny home town of Fairfield, Idaho. Those early experiences are the subject of one of the 65 broadly chronological stories you'll find in I Only Dress the Wounds.

These highly personal stories chronicle Ted's education, family, and career, and as he points out in the introduction, "The stories are true and the names are real."

In 1948, Ted received his M.D. degree from Columbia University, and his next 50 years were divided between rural general practice and hospital-based emergency medicine. In mid-career, he left medicine to teach biology at Goddard College in Vermont, returning to medicine a few years later.

In I Only Dress the Wounds, as in his other books, Ted looks back fondly and somewhat wistfully at his experiences in medicine and in life. He weaves himself into the stories in a way that is informative and entertaining to readers outside the field of medicine, but many descriptive details also have value for doctors and aspiring medical students.

Robin Dutcher, a freelance editor who helped Ted with the book, had this to say:

"This book is written by a gifted storyteller, and at times it is lyrical and poetic. The doctoring the book describes seems indeed an art, a way of being in the world, of experiencing life. It shows a deep respect for human dignity, and pictures a way of living medicine that seems increasingly rare and that unfortunately is not encouraged by modern society."