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Life in the Balance: Emergency Medicine and the Quest to Reverse Sudden Death Hardcover – July 17, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195101799 ISBN-10: 0195101790 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195101790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195101799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,164,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Today, many people take for granted the idea that a stopped heart can be restarted, that a person who appears dead isn't really dead until all life-saving techniques have been attempted. But just a few centuries ago, dead was dead. The Amsterdam Rescue Society, formed in 1767, was the first dedicated to the idea that someone who appeared dead--drowning victims, in this case--could and should be revived. Life in the Balance looks at the colorful history of resuscitation from biblical times to the present, and shows just how recent today's life-saving techniques, and the will to save lives at all, really are.

From Booklist

Eisenberg tells the fascinating, many-faceted story of the fight against sudden cardiac death. The first report in English on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (administered to a Scottish miner overcome by fumes) appeared in 1744, and the method has been in and out of favor ever since. Of course, such artificial respiration will not do the job by itself. The circulation must be restored, and the heart returned to its regular rhythm. Chest compression helps with the circulation, but the electrical activity of the heart makes things much more complicated. Here, Eisenberg turns to the use of electricity in medicine and in quackery. Electricity furnishes the only means for stopping ventricular fibrillation, the wild pulsing that soon makes the heart useless. Eisenberg tells how electric medical pioneers worked with alternating and direct currents and how they invented and modified portable emergency devices. Moreover, his description of these developments in cardiac emergency medicine and the people involved in them makes us, too, feel involved. William Beatty

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely interesting and well-written book. I picked it up because I love medical case histories, doctor or nurse biographies, or anything of that nature. This book is a lively overview of resuscitation through the ages. Who knew that artificial respiration used to involve fireplace bellows, with the modern method not making an appearance until the 1960's? Ties together the contributions of many far-flung individuals as well as the historical contexts which shaped them. I love a great find like this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Geraghty on August 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent resource for those interested in resuscitation. It's a must-read for ACLS or BCLS practitioners. Eisenberg, himself a nationally-known expert in the field of prehospital care and layperson CPR, takes us on a tour of efforts of resusucation over history, some of them useful, some of them bizarre, but all of them by people who helped us learn what we know of the science of resuscitation today.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By doctorslittlehelpers@earthlink.net on December 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The case for reversing sudden death is anything but secure and proven. Recent works such as that of Stefan Timmermanns cast aspersions on CPR and ACLS on logistical and clinical grounds. The Eisenberg book is the essential first step one undergoes when entering into a very real controversy. It is a standard one uses to measure growing evidence from Delaware and Ontario not to mention rural Kansas that much of our time honored dogmas are no longer sacrosanct. The quest goes on for now, but maybe not forever.
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