Second Lives, Second Chances by Donald R. Laub, M.D., ECW Press

Second Lives, Second Chances: A Surgeon's Stories of Transformation

Laub, Donald R., M.D.

  • The engrossing memoir of a plastic and reconstructive surgeon involved in groundbreaking and life-changing procedures

    Through his work in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Donald Laub changed the lives of thousands of people who had been shunned by society. Dr. Laub’s influence fostered the development of three key areas in the surgical profession: pioneering and influencing international humanitarian medical missions in the developing world, being at the forefront of gender affirmation surgery for transgender people since 1968, and the education and training of over 50 plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

    His unstinting efforts to surgically correct cleft palates gave new lives to thousands of children in developing countries. As one of the original surgeons to perform gender affirmation surgery, Laub not only continually improved on his methods, but he also became a tireless advocate for the rights of transgender people. His non-profit foundation (Interplast, now called ReSurge International) has sent thousands of multidisciplinary teams to perform transformative and reconstructive surgery in the developing world.

    Second Lives, Second Chances is more than just a memoir; it’s a testament to how the determination of one person can bring others together to make a lasting difference in the world.


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  • Dr. Donald Laub was chief of plastic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine from 1968 to 1980 before entering private practice. In 1969, he founded ReSurge International, the first organization to advance the idea that plastic surgeons could help those in the developing world with injuries or congenital conditions. In the 1970s, he was a pioneer in gender reassignment surgery in the U.S. Dr. Laub lives in Redwood City, California.

  • Published: April 2019

    ISBN: 9781770414679

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 200

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Second Lives, Second Chances is a concise and personable introduction to the field of plastic surgery with a well-appreciated focus on its intersections with international humanitarian work and transgender health. Dr. Laub succeeds in exploring the controversies and joys of both sub-fields, and renders the text especially suited to trainees and early health professionals interested in incorporating multiple professional paths into their careers.” — Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

“Laub, now 83, has written a memoir embodying the energy and maverick personality that fuelled his many activities over the decades.” — Lavender Magazine

“The reader will enjoy Dr. Laub’s travels to rural areas around the world with vivid, political, often dangerous and picturesque stories. Second Lives, Second Chances: A Surgeon's Stories of Transformation by Donald R. Laub, M.D. is a quick read, though it is highly engaging and detailed in medical and philanthropic terms. It is a true story of faith, giving back, and living globally.” — New York Journal of Books

“Thoroughly engrossing, Second Lives, Second Chances is more than just a memoir; it's a testament to how the determination of one person can bring others together to make a lasting difference in the world.” — Sir Read a Lot