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Hardcover Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart Book

ISBN: 0399153411

ISBN13: 9780399153419

Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

In the tradition of The Right Stuff comes the true story of four men locked in a race to transplant the first human heart--a riveting tale of surgical daring, unyielding ambition, and scientific... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Great Book

The book deals with complicated medical matters, but is written like a novel and is riveting, and hard to put down. It covers lots of medical and human history and is required reading for those too young to understand and appreciate heart and vascular surgery. Bypass and transplant surgery has changed the world and this book tells who made it possible. Joseph R. Newell, Jr

"Every Second Counts"

This well written book provides insight into the personalities, goals and methods of the surgeons who worked tirelessly to develop the procedure of heart transplant. In many ways it reads like a novel with the moral that the best doesn't always win the race. Society and mankind has benefited greatly from the efforts of most of these people. The winner of the race got the spoils but paid a heavy price. It is well worth reading.

Wonderful; couldn't put it down

This book does a wonderful job of bringing the story of the world's first HUMAN heart-transplant to life--and for those of us who might be in the medical field--some insight, down the road, of what must have driven other heart surgeons. Remember, the University of Mississippi's James Hardy? Did you know that he used a Baboon's heart--and implanted it into a human? Later, in the 1980's, did you know Dr. Bailey (Loma Linda) used a baby baboon's heart and put it into "Baby Fae"? Remember this? Heart surgeons have been plagued by the Prima Donna syndrome for years--and justifiably; however, this book UNDOES history's fame on Christan Barnard and makes him out to be a fame-driven, and ultimately, sorrowful individual stripped of his fellowship in the American College of Surgeons--while making the American surgeons (Drs. Shumway, Lower, Stinson, Kantrowitz) the real heroes of the heart transplant. I couldn't put this book down. . .and you won't be able to either. Christian Barnard's greatest achievment to science was NOT the heart transplant: it was his discovery of the cause of intestinal atresia, and the help his work in transplantation led the American's to re-define the definition of death from "heart" death to "brain-dead." The hero of the heart transplant is Richard Lower and Norman Shumway. Simply outstanding reading.

The Great Race

For those who lived through the sixties, the space race was a thrilling and defining endeavor. Few who remember it, however, will have forgotten another race that captured people's imaginations at the same time, the race to get a human heart transplanted. Maybe, like the space race, it was overhyped and exaggerated, but like the space race, the competition was a sensation that had serious aspects and effects on the future. In _Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart_ (Putnam), Donald McRae has told an important story, the exciting tale of pioneers competing on the frontiers of medicine, with the losers making lasting contributions and the winner descending into a tragic chaos fueled by fame. Norman Shumway, who had difficulty in getting into the field of heart surgery. After training, he got a job at the University of Stanford as "the guy in charge of the dialysis machine." The lowly post did bring him into contact with Richard Lower, who was doing experiments in a lab that leaked whenever it rained. The experiments involved surgery on dogs, removing a dog's heart and replacing it, for instance. In 1959, they transplanted a heart from one dog to another, and were ready to do it on humans by 1967. A year before, Adrian Kantrowitz, working in Brooklyn, had taken another tack on heart transplants, reasoning that doing the surgery on infants would be less liable for rejection complications. He was thwarted by others who would not let him take the still-beating heart from the doomed donor infant. Christaan Barnard in South Africa did not have to worry about the overdue acceptance of brain death as being more important in defining an end of life than heart cessation. A brilliant surgeon, he looked in on Lower's dog surgery, knew he wanted to do it, and two years later did it on a human. Although the patient lived but eighteen further days, the world went wild over the operation, and Barnard was catapulted into fame that got him audiences with political leaders and bedtime with countless women. He married three times, generally made a mess of his life, and died in 2001, his intense personality having crammed in risk and daring during his surgical years, but leaving him unloved by others, and stripped even of his membership in professional surgical organizations. Just as it is hard to name the second man to walk on the Moon, it is hard to name the second one to do a heart transplant, but once Barnard had done it, the procedure took off and is not at all remarkable now, with 2,500 being done annually in the US alone. There had been a real race to do the first one, and Kantrowitz, Shumway, and Lower all could have taken the trophy, and felt (with some justification) that Barnard, for all his gifts as a surgeon, had jumped in precipitously using their results rather than earning his own qualifications by experimental procedures beforehand. No matter how much they may have envied the fame that came to Bernard for his

A Medical Page Turner

Many of us remember the news of the first heart transplant, done, of all places, in South Africa. But only those on the inside knew that several physicians were on the brink of reaching this medical mile stone. Donald McRae describes four physicians working diligently toward the first human heart transplant. The efforts, creativity, egos and motivations of these doctors lay the background to this fascinating medical story. It reads like a medical research timeline, interwoven with facts and factoids about the major players involved. The descriptions of the doctors' various situations will surely appeal to a wide audience -- interesting to medical types as well as lay people. I was impressed by the degree of research and referencing of this book -- without giving it the flavor of an academic publication. I could not put the book down.
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