Few of the great stories of medicine are as palpably dramatic as the advent of open heart surgery, yet, until now, no one has brought to life all of the thrilling specifics of this triumph. G. Wayne Miller has dramatically and meticulously reconstructed the amazing true story of how a group of renegade Minnesota surgeons, led by Dr. Walt Lillehei, accomplished what many experts considered to be an impossible feat: he opened the heart, repaired fatal defects, and made the miraculous routine. Drawing on archival research and exclusive interviews with Lillehei and legendary pioneers such as Michael DeBakey and Christian Barnard, Miller takes readers into the lives of these brave doctors and patients as they risked reputations and lives to revolutionize health care.
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The surgeon-as-rock-star mystique seems like it must have come straight out of Hollywood, but the myth had to begin more concretely. A good candidate is Minnesota's Dr. Walt Lillehei, the hard-working, hard-playing father of open-heart surgery, whose life is told in garish color in King of Hearts by journalist G. Wayne Miller. From his early brilliance, recovery from deadly lymphatic cancer, and dramatic repair of seemingly hopeless heart cases to the disintegration of his career at its peak thanks to an army of personal enemies and conviction on tax evasion counts, his story is consistently surprising and engaging. Fast cars, hard drinking, and plenty of women filled his time when he wasn't turning lives around with a few strokes of his scalpel, and the reader will find the surgeon's actions almost unbelievable--rarely endearing, but occasionally saintly. Combining this melodramatic biography with the fascinating story of the struggle for open-heart surgery, considered impossible little more than a generation ago, Miller makes a compelling case that the daring scientist was simply another side of the arrogant, absent-minded playboy. No ordinary biography, King of Hearts is breathless reading--you'll find yourself surfacing every few chapters to remind yourself its nonfiction. --Rob LightnerFrom the Inside Flap:
reat stories of medicine are as palpably dramatic as the invention of open-heart surgery, yet, until now, no journalist has ever brought all of the thrilling specifics of this triumph to life.
This is the story of the surgeon many call the father of open-heart surgery, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, who, along with colleagues at University Hospital in Minneapolis and a small band of pioneers elsewhere, accomplished what many experts considered to be an impossible feat: He opened the heart, repaired fatal defects, and made the miraculous routine.
Acclaimed author G. Wayne Miller draws on archival research and exclusive interviews with Lillehei and legendary pioneers such as Michael DeBakey and Christiaan Barnard, taking readers into the lives of these doctors and their patients as they progress toward their landmark achievement. In the tradition of works by Richard Rhodes and Tracy Kidder, King of Hearts tells the story of an important and gripping piece of forgotten sci
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