Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart

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G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 356 pages
In the tradition of The Right Stuff comes the true story of four men locked in a race to transplant the first human heart--a riveting tale of surgical daring, unyielding ambition, and scientific adventure.

Many people remember the beaming face of Christiaan Barnard, the South African surgeon, after he performed the first human heart transplant, and captured the world's imagination. It was a stunning achievement, but he was not alone. In truth it was a four-way race, a fierce struggle fraught with passionate rivalry. The other three surgeons-Adrian Kantrowitz, Norman Shumway, and Richard Lower-were giants in the field, and by early December 1967 they and Barnard were each poised to snatch the victor's laurels. Each had spent years perfecting techniques that would lead to a successful heart transplant; each had monitored his chosen patient's condition, watching the clock, hoping a donor would be found in time.

Some of these men were friends; others were enemies. Only one of them would be the first.

From a dank, underequipped hospital in Cape Town to a cramped lab in San Francisco, the surgeons worked their own individual miracles to prolong their patients' lives, testing the limits of science, and nature itself. Like the classics of medical adventure-from James Watson's The Double Helix to John Barry's The Great Influenza-Every Second Counts is an unforgettable story of not only competition and fame, but of life and death.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amaqueira - LibraryThing

I found this book really interesting. It was hard to follow at firse since there's 4 different doctors written about and the author jumps from one to he other. It was a great read about the lives of each doctor and their different personalities. It was enjoyable. Read full review

EVERY SECOND COUNTS: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart

User Review  - Kirkus

When the South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant in 1967, his success dashed the hopes of three American cardiac surgeons. Adrian Kantrowitz, Richard Lower ... Read full review


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The Heart
James Peto
Limited preview - 2007

About the author (2006)

Donald McRae is the only writer to have won Britain's prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year-called by some "the sports Booker"-twice, for Heroes Without a Country: America's Betrayal of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens and Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing.

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