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Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives Paperback – March 30, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
What kind of person operates on babies' hearts for a living? This is the question Ruhlman set out to answer when he entered the pediatric heart center at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, to observe Dr. Roger Mee, one of the best pediatric heart surgeons in the world, and his team at work. Ruhlman, who has written two other books about people striving for excellence (The Soul of a Chef and Wooden Boats), describes with awe the precision, speed and ingenuity required to repair or transplant an infant's tiny heart. His gripping OR scenes capture the life-and-death nature of each surgery and illustrate why only perfection is good enough in this new and rapidly developing specialty. As the clinic's physician's assistant tells Ruhlman with a bluntness characteristic of the people he depicts, This is a kid, not a Yugo here. The anguish the families endure only adds to the pressure on the surgeons. And while congenital heart defects are the most common kind of birth defect, the book reveals that most parents are unaware of the vast difference between having surgery performed by a virtuoso like Dr. Mee and an average surgeon whom a local cardiologist might feel compelled to refer patients to because of HMO protocols. Ruhlman also provides some historical context, weaving in the stories of the maverick surgeons who pioneered the specialty. Although the medical terminology can slow the reader down at times, most will tear through this engaging and often wrenching account.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Michael Ruhlman is the author of The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and Charcuterie. He has also collaborated with Thomas Keller on two cookbooks, The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon. Additionally, Ruhlman has written for The New York Times, Gourmet, Saveur, and Food Arts magazine, as well as being featured on the PBS series Cooking Under Fire.
Top customer reviews
I hope that in the last 20 years there has been an improvement in the way parents and children get referred to the right surgeons for these perilous operations, but I fear that that improvement has not happened. In our case it was nothing but luck that we were delivered into the hands of Dr. Mee and his staff.
If you want to read a well written book about how amazingly gifted people use their gifts to help babies, I recommend this book highly.
Fashioned around a premier surgeon at a leading hospital, the reader is taken on a whirlwind of living on the edge of technology and skill and emotions as heart defects are diagnosed during pregnancy while others found at birth and thereafter are the daily routine of this top notch surgical team which Ruhlman lived with and writes about.
One is touched by the intensity of the whole enterprise, the stark reality of it all, day after day, year after year. The enormity of it all. Patching this, switching that, shunting here, stiching this together---all to keep young precious life.
The history of the discipline and current happenings are reviewed, with its emphasis on comparative mortality stats for various surgical procedures. Scary to think one's future might well be determined by where one lives and where taken when heart defects occur.
The precision and dedication of those who live in this arena is beyond most of our scopes to even begin to fathom, but this book seems to take one there in spirit and interest. The compassionate care looms ever large.
Thoughtful, provocative and reflective view of speciality surgery at the leading edge and all the while on edge.
The technical jargon was, I feel, understandable and easy to comprehend. It might be a little difficult for a non-medical person, but Ruhlman provides decent explanations at every turn.
Overall, a captivating look at a tiny subset of medicine.
The book is not in my possession now, as many family members have asked to read it and it is making the rounds. It helps family members to understand CHD better, the surgeries, and what we have gone through. Can't say enough good about this book!