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Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon Paperback – January 11, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Magliato touches briefly on her childhood, during which she learned to work hard and be self-sufficient; her grueling medical training under some tough mentors; the gender prejudice and humiliation that she endured from her sexist colleagues; the special satisfaction that she derives from healing people's hearts ("an incredible honor and privilege"); the difficult balancing act of juggling her career and personal life; the need to be detached in the operating room, yet tender with patients and their families; and the anguish of letting a patient go when he cannot be saved. Magliato is on call 24/7, including weekends, and even her nights are interrupted with frequent pages and phone calls. She is chronically exhausted and wistfully states, "How I wish I could be lazy. Just once."
This is a frank, occasionally grisly, and often poignant look at how heart disease affects our lives. Anyone, from an infant to a nonagenarian, can have a heart infection, a tear in the aorta, blot clots, leaky valves and a host of other problems. A good heart surgeon should be proficient, knowledgeable, meticulous, steady, and when necessary, quick.Read more ›
In the opening pages, she goes from cracking open a woman's chest ("like breaking a wishbone, we pulled her sternum apart") to delicately massaging a still-beating heart.
We hear about how she performs complicated surgeries; how she fends off sexist doctors; how she goes on frantic helicopter rides to harvest hearts from accident victims; and what it's like to watch a pathologist down in the morgue rip open the heart that you'd sewn up hours before.
Occasionally, Magliato gets too cutesy or sentimental. But she draws good analogies: In anatomy lab, she says, teasing out the seven branches of the facial nerve "is like trying to dissect a spider's web embedded in Play-Doh." Anyone practicing to perform bypass surgery should take "some cooked angel hair pasta (overcooked, not al dente) and sew the ends together with a thread the size of a human hair."
As for balancing careers and parenting with her liver-surgeon husband, a couple of questions tell it all: "Who's going to take Gabriel to his 6:00 p.m. Mommy/Daddy and Me class at Saint Matthew's parish?" Magliato asks. "Who's going to complete the bile duct anastomosis on that liver transplant patient?"
Magliato includes advice for working mothers, though after med school, heart transplants, an MBA, marriage, two pregnancies and the nanny in Pacific Palisades, it's a bit much to arrive at the perfectly nutritious and zero-environmental-impact school lunches that this Power Mommy packs for her two sons.Read more ›
Anyone who has aspirations to be a surgeon or enter the medical field will find that part of the book interesting. She shares why she wanted to go into medicine, her path there, and specifically why she chose thoracic surgery as a specialty, and then how she went on to become a transplant surgeon.
Part of the memoir leans a bit too far into the self-indulgent for my tastes, but I also recognize that when one is writing about one's life, it's hard not to come across in this way.
The information about heart disease in women is fascinating. It's incredible how much traditional medicine and media make it out to be a man's disease. When we think heart attack, we think man. Because of this, women's symptoms are ignored and they are far more likely to die as a result of a heart attack than a man.
For this reason alone, women should read this book so that they can be their own advocate.
This information is presented in an excellent way -- fascinating, readable, and not at all heavy-handed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm not a medical person, but thoroughly appreciated what Kathy has accomplished with her life.Published 4 days ago by Dorothy K.
I found this book absolutely fascinating! The surgeries and her personality!
I am very sorry the TV show was not renewed.
Love reading about this amazing woman's life. Could not put it down. Written in a down to earth manner. Very interesting. Read morePublished 4 days ago by campbec
Gave great insight to the life of a heart surgeon. Enlightened me on the risk of being a female and having heart disease. Read morePublished 5 days ago by nancy gargano