Dr. Richard Selzer, a surgeon, reads essays from his book, "Mortal Lesson: Notes on the Art of Surgery." Dr. Selzer recalls moments of his profession that stuck with him including the removal of a diabetic women's leg and the removal of a botfly larvae. He also takes a poetic look at the liver and the skin, including a story about Henry Moss. Dr. Selzer finishes his interview with a story about his first time witnessing an abortion. A comedy skit by Mike Nichols and Elaine May is also played.