If I Get to Five
A world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shares the lessons of courage, compassion, and resilience that he’s learned from his exceptional young patients
If I Get to Five is a one-of-a-kind book by a one-of-a-kind human being. The medical world knows him as Fred Epstein, M.D., the neurosurgeon who pioneered life-saving procedures for previously inoperable tumors in children. His patients and their families know him simply as Dr. Fred, the “miracle man” who has extended them both a healing hand and an open heart.
“I simply can’t accept the idea of kids dying,” is how Epstein explains his commitment to saving patients. As a child, he had to overcome severe learning disabilities to realize his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, as the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeon, he did whatever it took to rescue children that other doctors had given up on.
Epstein credits his young patients as his most important teachers. “We tend to think of children as fragile, little people,” he writes. “To me, they’re giants.” If I Get to Five relates the unforgettable experiences he’s shared with children-lessons in courage, compassion, love, and hope-that we can all draw on to overcome adversity at any stage of life. In If I Get to Five, Epstein meditates on these lessons at a time when they parallel his own experiences, as he recovers from a near-fatal head injury.
If I Get to Five is a riveting profile of courage and compassion. No one who reads this remarkable book will ever look at children-or adversity-in the same way.