Tarbes: the astonishing destiny of Guy Durand, the fitter-turner who became a plastic surgeon

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Guy Durand, after his fitter-turner CAP, became a plastic surgeon after reading a book, Corps et âmes, by Maxence Van der Meerch. He, in turn, recounts his atypical journey in a book, Medicine…my life.

The hazards of life? No doubt, even if Guy Durand is a hard worker, it took a few nudges of fate. And first an “encounter” with a book. “I come from a modest family, my father was an electrician at the SNCF, and immediately after the war, we had to rebuild the country”, he says, “so I passed a CAP d’ fitter-turner.” But, as he prepares to take the Arts et Métiers competition, he comes across bodies and souls, a book about the life of a country doctor, written by Maxence Van der Meerch (later to become the Prix Goncourt). “It was a revelation, I wanted to become a doctor, I gave up everything.” Not easy, with a background as weak as it is far from the “great” faculty of medicine in Bordeaux, largely preempted by the “sons and daughters of”, but by force of will, with the support of his family and odd jobs, Guy Durand becomes a doctor. “But I wanted to go even further, and I turned to ENT surgery.” With success, since he became a renowned specialist in deafness surgery, and quickly turned to cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. And to admit that his bases as a turner-fitter, “I was quite skilled with my hands, and in the end, reconstructive surgery is mechanics, we have common tools, moreover”, have well served. Highly renowned, Guy Durand practiced (until the age of 83!) at the Ormeau clinic in Tarbes, of which he is one of the pioneers, but also throughout the world, where his skills have worked wonders, not only to lift breasts or sagging eyelids, but to repair the accidents of life.

A book changed his life

To the point of becoming president of the French Society of Aesthetic Surgery. “And all that because of a book,” he laughs, even if the desire to help his neighbor must already be well anchored in him. At the twilight of his career, he decided to write a book recounting his journey. Almost by chance… “It was my wife Elisabeth, who was a fan of the literary program “La Grande Librairie” on France 2, who phoned after the presenter invited viewers to come and talk about the book that had changed their lives. That was my case. So I found myself on the set of the show, I think it was in 2012, and I talked about this book by Maxence Van der Meerch. That’s where that I realized that I had to tell, in my turn, my career in a book. Jean d’Ormesson, whom I met that day, warmly encouraged me. So I started , and I submitted the manuscript to several publishers, five of them wanting to publish my book.” Proof that the story is gripping… Guy Durand finally chooses Spinelle editions. “That’s it, the book is available. I tell about my life, the efforts made but also the immense happiness that this passion for medicine has given me.” An authentic story, studded with tasty anecdotes, but also a dive into the past, where Guy Durand also outlines his other passions, music, but above all the mountains. He has also climbed several mythical summits on the planet, but his own Everest was medicine. And he was much higher…

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