By Scalpel and Cross: A Missionary Doctor in Old Korea is the story of a Presbyterian medical missionary told against the background of Korea in the first half of the twentieth century, decades before the astounding rise of South Korea. Young Dr. Archibald G. Fletcher arrives in 1909, just before Japan annexes Korea. The dramatic, little-read history of early Christian missions is part of the story, as Arch, assigned to Taegu, confronts appalling diseases, poverty, and the scourge of leprosy.
The reader gets to know Arch and his wife, Jessie, through their relentless effort to provide healing, in body and also in spirit, and the artful blend of practical entrepreneurship and compassion in Arch's pioneering treatment of leprosy. The book overflows with the sights and sounds of old Korea, and the experiences of a Westerner pressing the advance of medicine under Japanese rule.
Arch and Jessie's story includes setbacks and disappointments--destruction by fire of their home and the medical dispensary, Arch's bout with tuberculosis, internment during WWII--yet the narrative is inspiring and uplifting. The reader shares a sense of God's providence, and of esteem for the Korean people--their generous spirit, and their extraordinary response to the Christian message.