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Baystate surgeon pens Amazon best seller

July 11, 2013
<b>Dr. Andrew Lam</b> <br>Reminder Publications submitted photo

Dr. Andrew Lam
Reminder Publications submitted photo

By Katelyn Gendron


LONGMEADOW — Andrew Lam, MD, knew since childhood that he wanted to help people through medicine but what he didn't know then was how his passion for history would inspire him to become a writer as well.

Lam, a retinal surgeon at Baystate Medical Center and an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, recently became an Amazon.com best seller thanks to his book, "Saving Sight." The book blends his experiences in the operating room with the histories of pioneers such as Louis Braille, who created of the Braille system of reading and writing for the visually impaired, and Harold Ridley, inventor of the intraocular lens used in cataract surgery.

"I wanted to write about these eye doctors because they're more than just stories at our nerdy doctor meetings," Lam said with a chuckle. "The book came about because of all these people who created these amazing surgeries but people thought they were nuts. [Colleagues of] Harold Ridley thought he was crazy and it took 30 years for people to start accepting his work. He had a failed career until he was knighted [by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000] at age 93. I can't image that; I would've given up."

Lam credited his "true passions for people and history" as his motivation for writing "Saving Sight." He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a degree in history before attending medical school at the University of Pennsylvania and receiving his training in ophthalmology and retina surgery at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa.

When asked what would intrigue readers to break the binding, Lam replied, "The personal experiences I have in the first chapter where I talk about a very unique case where a guy got a piece of metal stuck in his eye and I didn't know how I was going to get it out."

The revealing nature of Lam's personal experiences have prompted rave reviews on Amazon.com, one of which read, "The stories of the ophthalmology innovators were riveting — in a way I didn't expect. Who knew that a book on the history of ophthalmology would be such a page-turner? I finished the book in one night. I didn't know that there was so much progress in the field of eye surgery in the last 30 years. Dr. Lam also addresses the future of medicine with such candor and clarity. A fantastic read for everyone!"

Lam's writing days are just beginning as his next work, "Two Sons of China," a WWII novel set in China, has obtained a publishing deal and his literary agent is currently shopping a third work.

For now, however, Lam said he's "taking each book one at a time" and focusing his efforts on promoting "Saving Sight," while donating proceeds from appearances to local libraries. Scheduled appearances include Storrs Library on July 31 at 6:30 p.m., Forbes Library in Northampton on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m., East Longmeadow Public Library on Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m., Agawam Public Library on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., and Springfield City Library Central Branch on Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 26 at noon.

For additional information about "Saving Sight" or Lam's appearances, visit www.andrewlammd.com.

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