100,000 Hearts: A Surgeon's Memoir by Denton A. Cooley, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
100,000 Hearts: A Surgeon's Memoir

100,000 Hearts: A Surgeon's Memoir

3.8 8
by Denton A. Cooley

Pioneering surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley performed his first human heart transplant in 1968 and astounded the world in 1969 when he was the first surgeon to successfully implant a totally artificial heart in a human being. Over the course of his career, Cooley and his associates have performed thousands of open heart operations and have been forerunners in implementing


Pioneering surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley performed his first human heart transplant in 1968 and astounded the world in 1969 when he was the first surgeon to successfully implant a totally artificial heart in a human being. Over the course of his career, Cooley and his associates have performed thousands of open heart operations and have been forerunners in implementing new surgical procedures. Of all his achievements, however, Cooley is most proud of the Texas Heart Institute, which he founded in 1962 with a mission to use education, research, and improved patient care to decrease the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease.

In his new memoir, 100,000 Hearts, Cooley tells about his childhood in Houston and his experiences as a basketball scholarship recipient at the University of Texas. After medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Johns Hopkins, Cooley served in the Army Medical Corps. While at Johns Hopkins, Cooley assisted in a groundbreaking operation to correct an infant's congenital heart defect, which inspired him to specialize in heart surgery.

Cooley's detailed descriptions of what it was like to be in the operating room at crucial points in medical history offer a fascinating perspective on how far medical science has progressed in just a few decades. Dr. Denton Cooley and the Texas Heart Institute are responsible for much of that progress.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this well-written and engrossing memoir, legendary heart surgeon Cooley (founder and surgeon in-chief, Texas Heart Inst.; surgery, Univ. of Texas, Houston) describes his pioneering surgical procedures as well as his early life, education, and family history. Though he once dreamed of being a dentist like his dad, he ultimately became one of the nation's top heart surgeons. Struggling with doubts and insecurity every step of the way, Cooley nevertheless spent his career successfully performing groundbreaking operations. He was one of the first surgeons to perform a heart transplant and the very first to implant an artificial heart in a patient. VERDICT Anyone interested in the medical profession, surgery, or the history of medicine—lay readers and medical professionals alike—will want to read this story of one of the world's leading cardiac surgeons, whose pioneering spirit made possible many of the surgical heart procedures developed in the 20th century.—Dana Ladd, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Libs., Richmond

Product Details

Moore Center Press
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6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Denton A. Cooley, M.D., is a world-renowned surgeon and founder of the Texas Heart Institute.

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100,000 Hearts 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
OpheliaM More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It was so enjoyable that I find myself picking it up and re-reading my favorite sections. The book is very well written. I felt as if I were really getting to know Dr. Cooley. I especially liked learning that even a man that great, who seems to have it all, has faced many difficult challenges. Unlike the reviewer who felt that Dr. DeBakey wasn't treated fairly in the book, I thought Dr. Cooley was complimentary of DeBakey's many talents. Cooley was honest about the flaws of his fellow surgeons, just as he was honest about his own flaws. He could only tell the facts as he knew them. I believe anyone would enjoy this book. The pictures are an added bonus.
Soriguana More than 1 year ago
I wish to add my voice to the growing number of readers who have given this book 5 stars. Dr. Cooley has an outstanding memoir in this delightful volume. His writing style is charming and conversational. Because online Barnes & Noble shoppers aren’t able to look inside this book, I will include a few quotes: Page 16: "One day, after a heavy rain, some neighbor boys joined [my brother] Ralph and me in a mud-ball fight. Bored with targeting each other, we turned our attention to the cars passing in front of our house. As we happily splattered one vehicle after another with mud, one of our victims stopped his car and came after us yelling. Hearing a commotion, Daddy came outside to investigate. He quickly cut off the driver's complaints. 'My boys would never do such a thing,' he insisted. 'Get off my property!' Unfortunately, it was only a brief reprieve. Daddy took us in the house and spanked us with the leather strap that he used to sharpen his straight razor. From then on, automobiles driving by our house enjoyed safe passage." Page 70: "[In proposing to Louise], I was so nervous that I dropped the ring. Her boxer dog, Clipper, picked it up in his mouth. I had to grab the dog in a stranglehold to keep him from swallowing the ring. I managed to retrieve it from his mouth and give it to Louise. This was not a very romantic beginning to our engagement." Pages 101-102: [In 1955, Dr. Cooley and his colleague Dan McNamara went to the University of Minnesota to observe open heart surgery there. Their host, Dr. Walt Lillehei, took them out for steaks, drinks, and dancing the night before they were scheduled to watch him operate.] "Because hotel rooms were scarce, Dan and I were sharing a room that had only one double bed. The next morning, I woke up about 8:30 or 9:00, feeling awful and wondering why there was a man in my bed. . . . We arrived in the operating room about 9:30. Walt Lillehei and his small team, mostly residents, were planning to correct a ventricular septal defect. The patient, a child, was on one table, and the father was on an adjacent table, already hooked up for cross-circulation. But Walt was nowhere in sight. At about 10:00, he finally arrived--looking clammy, sweaty, and in need of medical attention himself. Although I was concerned about both the patient and the father, Walt and his team performed the operation superbly and successfully." Yes, the book tends to be somewhat self-absorbed--that's the nature of a memoir--but its tone is far from self-aggrandizing. On the contrary, Dr. Cooley tells his life story with restraint, graciousness, and humility. I saw no trace of the disparagement of Dr. Michael DeBakey that other reviewers have complained about. Dr. Cooley had some criticisms about most of his mentors--including Blalock, Brock, DeBakey, and Lillehei--and also criticisms about himself. However, he continued to hold each of his mentors in high esteem and to be grateful for their influence on his career. On page 198, he says, "Looking back, I will always be indebted to Mike [DeBakey] for giving me a faculty position at Baylor and the opportunity to continue my academic career. During the early years, we were close, and I usually enjoyed being his colleague. As a mentor, he was generous with his time, and I learned a great deal from him that shaped my career. Ironically, I think that our historic rivalry enhanced his reputation as well as mine, serving both of our careers well. Most of all, our competitiveness benefited the Texas Medical Center and its patients. For me, that is the greatest good that could have come from it all." By reading Dr. Cooley's memoir, I gained a new appreciation for him and all the other cardiovascular pioneers he describes. The book also provides a lot of general information about heart disease and its treatment. It deserves a wide audience among both medical and lay readers.
SharynM More than 1 year ago
What a great book! It’s well-written and an easy read. It details Dr. Cooley’s life story, which is really quite interesting. I enjoyed learning about how he grew up during the Depression and about how he managed to become such a great surgeon. I know several people he’s operated on, and they all said what a nice and wonderful man he is, which is one reason I wanted to read the book. I can tell that he is a genuinely kind person by how he writes about his patients and his family. I think any reader would enjoy his memoir and be able to find a good take-home message from it.
Kinabatangan More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book documenting the life of an outstandingly talented man. Dr. Cooley’s story begins with a captivating description of his roots, from which unfolds a hugely interesting chronicle of his education, surgical achievements, conflicts, and personal life. He tells his story with candor and detail, and in a way that easily appeals to the lay reader. Appendices include a comprehensive glossary of medical terms, anatomical drawings of the cardiovascular system, as well as drawings illustrating those diseases of the heart discussed in the text. One is left with the impression of a man continually striving for the greater good, without whose surgical innovativeness and talent, many patients would have been deprived of a “second chance”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
professor40 More than 1 year ago
I have known and worked with Dr. DeBakey and his sisters Lois and Selma for decades and know their honesty and integrity are irreproachable,In reading this volume it is deeply disturbing to see such falsehoods published after Dr. DeBakey's demise, and one wonders why the author vigorously sought a reconciliation with Dr. DeBakey and then after his death publish proven falsehoods pertaining to the superb work by such a humanitarian master surgeon and teacher. It seem to me cowardly to posthumously attack the outstanding record of such a noble scholar as Dr. Michael DeBakey which is on the public record and cannot be denied.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Apparently, if you make a large enough gift to the University of the Texas Dental School and you’ve made Distinguished Alumnus, the University’s historical press will publish whatever you might put down on paper as a “memoir”. No fact-checkers and no editor need ever be involved. Tedious, creepily obsessive, and dishonestly self-serving are the descriptions one comes away with after slogging through 200 pages of Cooley’s 100,000 Hearts. 100% Denial would be the more appropriate title. Cooley’s obsession with being in the shadow of renowned surgeon Michael DeBakey first appears in his title. While Cooley claims that his group at Houston’s Texas Heart Institute performed 100,000 surgeries, it is well known that over a medical career spanning seven decades DeBakey performed 60,000 heart surgeries personally. It seems one cannot read any ten pages in Cooley’s 207 page book without encountering derisive and very negative references to DeBakey, who hired Cooley in 1951. The introduction and one chapter are dedicated to rationalizing Cooley’s most infamous episode, one that resulted in his censure by the American College of Surgeons. Cooley admitted to Life magazine in 1970 that the year before he covertly and illicitly “took” an experimentally unsound device in preliminary testing from a Baylor College of Medicine lab run by DeBakey. While Cooley was also then a Baylor faculty member, he had no legitimate access to the lab. Cooley then used the test device in a human experiment. A patient was subjected to implantation of the test device as a bridge to transplant. The patient’s death promptly followed. Domingo Liotta, also a Baylor employee and Cooley’s co-conspirator both in the heist and the human experiment, was fired soon after the patient arrived at the morgue. A few months later, during the multiple investigations ordered, Cooley was permitted to resign. That came after he refused to sign a “compliance with federal guidelines” statement accepted by every one of the other 1,350 Baylor faculty members. In his Introduction Cooley informs the 2011 Baylor faculty, along his other readers, that he and his partner Liotta “designed and tested” the purloined test device. He seems to contend that the medical writers for the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, and the editor and authors of the History of Surgery of Medicine in Houston, as well as The Courage to Fail, all did faulty homework in their journalistic and scientific reporting. We learn that the investigations, the censure by the American College of Surgeons, even the malpractice suit filed by his patient’s widow, were all attributable to an alleged vindictiveness by Dr. DeBakey. But Dr. DeBakey declined to testify in Cooley’s malpractice suit and the case was subsequently dismissed. Cooley’s claim of being a victim is as groundless as his phony claim of being the “designer” of the unsound prototype device that he misappropriated and then misused on a human being. Shame on the publisher for willingly producing this dishonest and self-serving insult to readers. With this publication it has tarnished its own reputation.