- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1 edition (June 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399153411
- ISBN-13: 978-0399153419
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Although Christiaan Barnard (who died in 2001) is venerated as the first to successfully transplant a human heart, on December 3, 1967, McRae shows that he was only one of four heart surgeons who pioneered this miraculous specialty from 1958 through 1968. The South African Barnard hadn't toiled in research labs, but, according to McRae, appropriated the work of three Americans and, in a period of debate over whether to define death by the brain's or the heart's cessation, he took a beating heart from a brain-dead donor. McRae portrays Barnard as a rural Afrikaner with an inferiority complex, a "lothario" with a deeply troubled personal life and a publicity hound who delegated postoperative patient care to others as he hobnobbed with celebrities and the media. As McRae, an award-winning London-based sports writer (Heroes Without a Country: America's Betrayal of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens), demonstrates in this top-notch journalistic feat that elucidates complicated medical procedures, the Americans whom Barnard bested were medical giants. Norman Shumway in California and Richard Lower of Virginia were masters of transplant and rejection research, and New York's Adrian Kantrowitz would eventually develop the balloon pump that saved hundreds of thousands of lives. (June 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Through life histories, flashbacks, personal interviews, and compelling narration, McRae recounts a real-life race to the death. History books will forever spell the name of Christiaan Barnard correctly as that of the first surgeon to perform a successful human heart transplant. But for luck and timing, however, the name could as easily have been that of Norman Shumway, Adrian Kantrowitz, or Richard Lower. The world never realized at the time that three other, equally brilliant surgeons stood ready and able to take the title of first as his own. With something like 2,500 heart transplants every year in the U.S. nowadays, it is easy to take the procedure for granted, though it remains miraculous. Barnard was the arrogant pioneer who first took up its challenge and, as this gripping story of four giants converging on that accomplishment reveals, changed heart medicine forever. Much more dramatic than any fiction about its subject could be. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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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.
It is accurate down to the fine minutia in the animal lab next to the morgue at the medical school of the University of Cape Town.
A must read!!