As the sun beamed down on Sterling Hall of Medicine’s circular driveway and the Beach Boys provided a soundtrack, Jeffrey Seiden MED ’03 reclined in the driver’s seat of his shiny new 1965 Ford Thunderbird and grinned for the television crews.
“Get in, get in,” he yelled to his friends, laughing in disbelief.
Seiden won the car after sending in a page from one of his medical textbooks on which seemingly nondescript fine print had offered a prize to one lucky, meticulous reader. The T-bird was presented to him at noon yesterday by the daughter of the textbook’s author.
“I think this shows that good things come to those who pay attention,” Seiden said.
Although over 60,000 English-language copies of the the book’s current edition were printed, Seiden was among fewer than half a dozen respondents to the contest. He was chosen to receive the car in a random drawing.
Seiden came across the message last spring on the copyright page of the textbook. The message, which was surrounded by legal information about the book, offered the reader a chance to win the Thunderbird. The book, “Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s,” uses a picture of the car to explain electrode placement for a medical procedure. The publisher and author of the text decided to celebrate the 50th printing of the book by giving away a real Thunderbird.
“I truly have no idea why I was reading the fine print,” said Seiden, who admitted he has a rather compulsive nature.
Seiden learned he had won the contest in November. He told his fiancee, Tracey Schreier, but kept his winnings a secret from his friends until the night before he was to be presented with the car.
“I didn’t want to talk it up until I knew it was real,” he said.
His friends seemed to have a little more faith than he did.
“When we were told [to be here at] noon, we definitely believed him,” Liana Kretschmar MED ’04 said.
The car was delivered by Amanda Dubin, the daughter of the textbook’s author, Dr. Dale Dubin.
“I think it was pure fun for [my father] to do this, or maybe just excitement about the 50th printing,” Amanda Dubin said.
Dr. Dubin, who was unable to come to New Haven because of schedule conflicts, wrote the textbook while he was a medical school student. Frustrated that there was no textbook explaining the electrocardiograph, a machine which monitors vital heart functions in patients, Dr. Dubin decided to solve the problem by writing his own. The book has been an international bestseller for over 30 years.
“Originally, I don’t think he expected the book to be so popular,” Amanda Dubin said.
Amanda Dubin said her father probably would have noticed a similar offer had he been in Seiden’s place.
“With his meticulous eye for detail, I’m sure that he would have,” she said.
Seiden said that if he ever writes a textbook, he “would love to give away a car like this.”