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Waking Up Blind - Lawsuits Over Eye Surgery Hardcover – December 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1934938874 ISBN-10: 1934938874 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Langdon Street Press (a division of Hillcrest Publishing Group, Inc.); 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934938874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934938874
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A compelling story of medical tragedy."  Kirkus Reviews

Waking Up Blind: Lawsuits over Eye Surgery is a riveting, true story that reads like a novel. While my novels deal with fictional medical disasters, Harbin spins a devastating, real-life account that will make the reader forever wary of the charming, super doctor. --Robin Cook, author of Coma and Outbreak

''Waking Up Blind is an astonishing book of great courage and an even greater passion for seeking--and telling--the truth.'' --Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

''This frightening story is the must-read book of the year. I simply could not put it down, then it stayed with me long after I had turned the last page.'' --Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife<br /><br />Waking Up Blind is an astonishing book of great courage and an even greater passion for seeking--and telling--the truth. --Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides<br /><br />This frightening story is the must-read book of the year. I simply could not put it down, then it stayed with me long after I had turned the last page. --Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

Waking Up Blind is an astonishing book of great courage and an even greater passion for seeking--and telling--the truth. --Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

This frightening story is the must-read book of the year. I simply could not put it down, then it stayed with me long after I had turned the last page. --Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

About the Author

Dr. Tom Harbin received his M.D. from Cornell University and trained in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute of Johns Hopkins. He has been practicing ophthalmology with a specialty in glaucoma for over thirty years and is a Clinical Professor Emeritus at Emory University. Waking Up Blind: Lawsuits over Eye Surgery is his first book. His second book, The Business Side of Medicine...What Medical Schools Don't Teach You, was published in 2013.
Dr. Harbin resides with his wife in Atlanta, Ga.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I read the book in one sitting finishing at 3:00 AM.
Eye MD KC
Harbin tells this true story with a novelist's pace and an insider's authority.
Horace Nalle
Dr. Harbin, himself a prominent eye surgeon, documents this frightening story.
William Schwartz III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Horace Nalle on December 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As with any industry, there's a place in American health care where big money and big ego cross paths. But in medicine, that intersection is often found in the body and mind of individual Americans.

A distinguished ophthalmologist and clinical professor at Emory, Tom Harbin provides the authoritative account of the rise and rise of Dwight Cavanagh. Performing eye surgeries in impressive numbers, Cavanagh made himself into a money machine for Emory. Not only did the institution receive reimbursement for the procedures; Cavanagh was also adept at winning grants. The whole department prospered. The University built state-of-the art facilities. Everybody seemed to win. Cavanagh was the ophthalmological equivalent of a rock star.

Except that whispers began to spread about whether the patients really needed all those operations. In one case, Cavanagh operated on the wrong eye, blinding a poor man who hadn't clearly needed surgery in the first place. After too many operations on too many borderline patients, the hard-working, honest physicians alongside Cavanagh finally mustered the courage to question the rock star's practices. Cynically, the Emory administration closed ranks, and it was the honest critics whose careers were stunted.

Harbin tells this true story with a novelist's pace and an insider's authority. Waking Up Blind succeeds because it's a gripping story told by an authoritative physician with a graceful and unobtrusive style. It's also an engaging account of how Big Ego and Big Health Care can actually compromise patient outcomes. Arriving in the midst of the national health care debate, Waking Up Blind couldn't be more timely.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert Chambers on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ophthalmologists and local grandees behaving badly in Atlanta. Old letters. Depositions. Does this sound promising? Tom Harbin has transformed such potentially leaden non-fictional material into a narrative that is as difficult to put down as the best sort of Grishamite thriller. In fact, I didn't put the book down. I read it straight through, finishing at about 5 AM and paying dearly the next day. I confess to knowing a couple of the major participants, and I've had my own very unhappy collision with a branch of the Emory Clinic in Atlanta that seemed to be, like the Emory department that Dr. Harbin anatomizes, the medical equivalent of a puppy mill. My own contact with Emory medicine, though, was not a plus in terms of my wanting to read the book. Indeed, I had to overcome an aversion to revisiting this environment. I was able to do so because of this book's narrative power: a cumulative portrait of evil emerges along with that of the growing corruption of a scientific/academic institution that pulls all manner of political levers to cover up and protect that evil and to punish the courageous few who persist in pursuit of truth and common decency. Among the latter are two heroes whose careers are derailed, and the book is dedicated to them. A third hero is the narrator/implied author, Dr. Harbin. No doubt he is on dangerous legal ground making such revelations, but he seems to hold nothing back. I was initially inclined to say that his riveting prose, appropriately, is surgical, but it is more than that. Our Founding Fathers revered as their models the unpretentious courage, lucidity, and incorruptibility of the leaders of the ancient Roman republic. I am certain that these Romans as well as our Founders would recognize Dr. Harbin as a peer.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ronald G. Boothe on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Shortly before 6 pm on September 12, 1983, I found myself sitting in the surgery suite at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. What I did not know at the time, but learned later, was that a horrible mistake was about to happen right after I left. The next patient in line, an elderly African American man named Sargus Houston was scheduled to have surgery performed on his right eye, but the surgery was done on the left. That accident set in motion a chain of events that was to alter the lives of countless individuals, including my own, over the next several years. The facts are now spelled out publicly for the first time in Tom Harbin's book (Waking up Blind: Lawsuits Over Eye Surgery, Langdon Street Press, 2009). I was a direct witness to some of the happenings detailed in the book, but mostly what I knew about these events as they were playing out was revealed via the grapevine of whispers in the shadows of the hallways at Emory University. I was only a bystander, but not an emotionally neutral one; more akin to an eyewitness to a mugging.

A quarter of a century has passed since these events occurred, and I am now retired from Emory University. Over the years I heard rumors via the grapevine that numerous lawsuits pertaining to the events I had witnessed had been settled, and that Emory University had been forced to pay out millions of dollars to various injured parties. However, the results of these settled lawsuits were sealed, and I had resigned myself to accepting the reality that the details about what had happened, the good, the bad, and the ugly, would never see the light of day. I am gratified to see that Tom Harbin's book has now shined a spotlight on what was kept hidden for far too long.
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