Reading a good book!

A new book landed on the doorstep last week! Usually I don’t mess with hardbacks – they are too hard to read in bed – but this one was a must have book for me. Titled Pioneers of Cardiac Surgery, this was written by Dr. William Stoney, himself a heart surgeon at Vanderbilt. I’ve only read 50 pages but I can already recommend the book highly!

Since Cardiac Surgery is such a new specialty, most of the book consists of interviews with some of the heroes of the field. This book grew out of an Oral History of Heart Surgery project at Vanderbilt, and Stoney edited out the “question and answer” format originally used, making each chapter flow smoothly. It’s almost as if you are sharing a cup of coffee with the surgeon, and asking him about his job! The first chapter is a pretty detailed overview of the history of heart operations, meant to include those doctors who have already passed on. I’ve been pleased to see photos of Dr. Vincent Gott and Dr. Alex Haller, both surgeons during my stay at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Frequent readers may remember that Haller was supposed to perform my first heart operation but was not available due to the weather; Gott stepped in for him.

Another interesting book for anyone interested in surgical history is King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery. For a while there were only three places in the world performing heart surgery, and two of them were in the state of Minnesota. This book tells the story of Dr. Walter Lillehei and his work at the University of Minnesota. Lillehei developed the idea of using another living person as a “heart lung machine” for a patient – a situation that could have led to the deaths of two people if something had gone wrong!

Yet another good look inside the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery field is Walk on Water: Inside an Elite Pediatric Surgical Unit which features Dr. Roger Mee and his staff at the Cleveland Clinic. Alas, this team no longer exists; Mee has retired to his native Australia and other members have gone their own ways.

Stanford University, New York City, and the country of South Africa are our destinations for the book Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart as Dr. Christiaan Barnard pulls off the impossible. His patient dies 18 days later, but time has proven that his effort was worth it.

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6 Responses to “Reading a good book!”

  1. Melissa B. Says:

    I was hoping to see “Partners of the Heart” listed as well, especially since you had referenced Vivien Thomas in a recent post. Thank you for your continued posts – they are a source of joy, knowledge and inspiration.

  2. Tom Says:

    I have read “King of Hearts”. That’s an EXCELLENT book, I highly recommend it. It is not dry like a textbook but reads more like a novel. I have the latter two on my wish list, but I had not heard of “Pioneers”. Never disappointed by this blog!

  3. Christi from the acha board. Says:

    Hey there,

    Followed the link over from the acha boards to see what it is you were writing over here. Just wanted to extend an invite to my blog as well. It’s not always about the heart – more about my stage of life for now…. but I thought you might enjoy!

    I just got a B&N gift card so one of these might just be on my list of books to get. I will just have to decide which one to start with.

    – C

  4. Lisa Says:

    Hi,
    I have read WALK ON WATER. Excellent book! Thank you for the additional recommendations.

    I just recently discovered your blog. My oldest son (born in 1992) was born with TA/TGA, among other things, and passed away at 2 months of age after surgery for a PA band, coarctation repair and then another for a pacemaker.

    In 2005, we were blessed with a second CHD son. He has L-TGA, ASD, Pulm. stenosis and HRHS. He is doing well.

    Thank you so much for blogging about CHD!

  5. carolyn compton Says:

    Clarence’s paediatric cardiologist trained in south africa and he tells of Dr Barnard…I am pretty sure he trained under him but we never have enough time to discuss history! we haver 6 monthly conversations now!

    He talks about the ethics committee not approving the first transplant in Sth Africa, even though they had all agreeing parties and they were ready to rock and roll. He tells with regret that he always came in second…but really how crazy is that! its all pioneer work! I am greatful for the name of the book. I’ll certainly be purchasing that!…then work my way back to the others you’re reading!

    your blog is great because it helps build relationships.

  6. Nikita Says:

    i’ve read on Amazon the editorial reviews …”….. a rural Afrikaner”…hehe…

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