ONE DEGREE is an historical medical mystery thriller involving a fatal infectious illness that begins in the 1971 Vietnam wartime jungle. Five Vietnam Veterans who observed the illness first hand and others touched by it are followed in their stateside journey to define and irradicate this fatal gruesome disease.
The veterans feel helpless to treat this disease first encountered in soldiers during the early 1970s, peaking globally in the mid-1970s, and essentially disappearing by 1975. A talented plastic surgeon, Claire Ferrier, tragically succumbs to this dormant illness after returning to the US from Cameroon in 1986. With great effort, dedication and original thinking the brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans spearheads the discovery of the disease's causation and eliminates this vile occurrence. Corrupt activities of Big Pharma in collusion with an influential US Senator are at the root of the causation of the disease.
Dr. Gus Kappler served as a trauma surgeon during the Vietnam War at the 85th Evacuation Hospital ’70-‘71. His well-received 2015 memoir, Welcome Home From Vietnam, Finally, describes his surgical experiences and personal transformation.
After his military service, Gus enjoyed a successful solo surgical practice in the small city of Amsterdam located in the majestic Mohawk River Valley in upstate New York. He and his family enjoyed hiking, camping, snowshoeing, hunting, kayaking, and photographing in the valley and the nearby Adirondack Mountains.
Gus’s current historical medical mystery, One Degree, reflects his real-life knowledge gained in Vietnam, during solo surgical practice, living and recreating in the Mohawk Valley, teaching at Weill Cornell Medicine, and in understanding global politics.
Through reading One Degree, he wishes to remind us of how morality, personal goals, and life choices may be complicated by the unique influences introduced by an unfamiliar environment. The reader is introduced to the development of PTSD, the condoning of corrupt practices, and the virulent pursuit of wealth and power.
"Phu Bai "Fred administered twenty-eight units of blood during Richard's procedure. An initial thought could be that Declan was a sloppy surgeon, losing an excessive amount of Private Burrows' blood.
Military missiles, bullets and fragments from exploding ordinance, travel at 2,600 feet per second or more. As they speed along, air molecules cannot get out of the way, becoming compressed into a ballistic shock wave. Just like a jet, "going through the sound barrier."
This energized wave scrambles molecular structure as it passes through tissue. Immediately following, the kinetic energy associated with the speeding missile striking the body imparts an extraordinary amount of power, creating a hydrostatic shock wave that destroys tissue and, passing nearby, fractures bones. It is called hydrostatic for the body's density is essentially that of water, its major component. Skin and fatty tissue are somewhat resistant to damage. The surgeon must debride all dead (devitalized) muscle, for it becomes gangrenous and infected, threatening the patient's life. Often referred to as "meatball surgery," meticulous dissection is required to define and enter the viable muscle, thus releasing excessive blood loss that requires replacement.
Coagulation issues occur due to decreased platelets, fibrinogen, and clotting factors (molecules that create the clot). The surgeon must order these components restored.
Fresh warm "walking donor" unprocessed blood solves that problem.
The booby trap had inflicted extensive wounds. Effective treatment required extensive debridement of devitalized muscle. Twenty-eight units of blood were given to replace the amount lost during the procedure.