The surgeon had no prestigious named professorship, no N.I.H. grant and no plum administrative position in the hospital's hierarchy. But to the other surgeons-in-training and me, he was exactly who we wanted to be. A decade or two earlier, he had started out like us, as a lowly resident in the medical center, but had finished his training elsewhere. When he returned to open a practice, the other doctors in town welcomed him back as one of their own. But they soon discovered that he had become a surgeon like few others.