Doctor Tom Dooley, My Story Critical Essays

Thomas A. Dooley


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In writing his personal autobiography, Dooley presents a subjective account of real-life experiences. He also gives an accurate description of war assignments and private medical practice. While the book appeals to adult audiences, it is valuable for teenage readers because of Dooley’s portrayal of his life of sacrifice and service.

Dooley practiced medicine with devotion and commitment. He was inspired by the great Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a world-famous organist who left a concert career to study medicine. Schweitzer founded a jungle hospital in Africa and treated the sickly and poor. According to Schweitzer, doctors “must go forth amongst the ‘have-nots’ in far-off lands and do what has to be done.” Because, like Schweitzer, Dooley wanted to help others, he traveled to remote areas in Southeast Asia and treated the poor and diseased.

Dooley believed in hard work and simplicity. He tirelessly aided people in their struggle against misery and often worked fifteen or sixteen hours a day, his best reward being a decent meal or hot shower. Fancy clothes and appearance were not important to Dooley: His standard working clothes were khaki trousers, shorts, T-shirts, and uniforms with the sleeves cut off. Dooley was more concerned with human beings than he was with possessions or image.

Dooley also enjoyed the world of literature. He authored several books and read reflective poetry. One of his favorite poems was “Stopping by...

(The entire section is 570 words.)