Books

Fragile Lives

February 9th 2017 | Harper Collins | Hardbacks

A heart surgeon's tales of life and death on the operating table, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the fast paced and exhilarating world of heart surgery and how it feels to hold someones life in your hands. The day his grandfather died, Steve Westaby vowed to become a heart surgeon. Today, as one of the world’s most eminent heart surgeons, Professor Westaby shares the stories of the lives he has fought to save.

A slip of the hand and a life ebbs away: the balance between life and death is so delicate, and the heart surgeon walks that tightrope between the two. But in the operating room, there is no time for such contemplation or philosophy. There is no time for doubt. It is blood, gore, rib retractors and pumping the vital organ with your bare hand to squeeze the life back into it. You must stitch holes while the muscle pumps away - cardiac surgery is certainly not for the faint hearted.

Professor Steve Westaby took all the chances, ignored all the rules and pushed all the boundaries to make heart surgery what it is today. Steve has seen it all; in his astounding memoir he details some of his most remarkable cases. During his 35 year career as a surgeon Steve has performed more than 11,000 heart operations, being the first surgeon in history to fit a patient with a new type of artificial heart, earning himself a place in medical history. He has worked at several of the UK's  top hospitals; he is currently a heart surgeon at the pediatric cardiac unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

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