King of Hearts by G. Wayne Miller
The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery

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Few of the great 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 science history.

From the Hardcover edition.

About G. Wayne Miller

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G. Wayne Miller is a staff writer at The Providence Journal, where he has won numerous journalism awards. He is the author of a novel and three nonfiction books. He lives in Pascoag, R.I., and can be reached at the Hardcover edition.
Published February 6, 2010 by Crown. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Business & Economics, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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A hard-drinking, bed-hopping spendthrift who hated paperwork, Lillehei served in a WWII MASH unit in Africa and Europe, then assisted in the research lab of his mentor, Dr. Owen Wangensteen at the University Hospital, where Lillehei himself went under Wangensteen's knife for lymph cancer.

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Publishers Weekly

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Open-heart surgery is now almost routine in the United States, but just a few decades ago the idea of repairing cardiac defects by cutting into a living human heart was almost unthinkable. Yet thanks

Jan 31 2000 | Read Full Review of King of Hearts: The True Stor...

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