Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles That Are Saving Lives Against All Odds
  • Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles That Are Saving Lives Against All Odds
  • Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles That Are Saving Lives Against All Odds

Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles That Are Saving Lives Against All Odds

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by Sanjay Gupta
     
 

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An unborn baby with a fatal heart defect . . . a skier submerged for an hour in a frozen Norwegian lake . . . a comatose brain surgery patient whom doctors have declared a "vegetable."

Twenty years ago all of them would have been given up for dead, with no realistic hope for survival. But today, thanks to incredible new medical advances, each of these

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Overview

An unborn baby with a fatal heart defect . . . a skier submerged for an hour in a frozen Norwegian lake . . . a comatose brain surgery patient whom doctors have declared a "vegetable."

Twenty years ago all of them would have been given up for dead, with no realistic hope for survival. But today, thanks to incredible new medical advances, each of these individuals is alive and well . . .Cheating Death.

In this riveting book, Dr. Sanjay Gupta—neurosurgeon, chief medical correspondent for CNN, and bestselling author—chronicles the almost unbelievable science that has made these seemingly miraculous recoveries possible. A bold new breed of doctors has achieved amazing rescues by refusing to accept that any life is irretrievably lost. Extended cardiac arrest, "brain death," not breathing for over an hour—all these conditions used to be considered inevitably fatal, but they no longer are. Today, revolutionary advances are blurring the traditional line between life and death in fascinating ways.

Drawing on real-life stories and using his unprecedented access to the latest medical research, Dr. Gupta dramatically presents exciting accounts of how pioneering physicians and researchers are altering our understanding of how the human body functions when it comes to survival—and why more and more patients who once would have died are now alive. From experiments with therapeutic hypothermia to save comatose stroke or heart attack victims to lifesaving operations in utero to the study of animal hibernation to help wounded soldiers on far-off battlefields, these remarkable case histories transform and enrich all our assumptions about the true nature of death and life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"You will be on the edge of your seat as you read the superbly crafted stories of people who have beaten the odds, something I like to think I know quite a bit about. My friend Dr. Sanjay Gupta, America's doctor, has written a page-turner. It's an exciting medical thriller with the compassion, hope, excitement and aspiration that define Sanjay." —Lance Armstrong"

Dr. Gupta's new book is not only fascinating, it reads like a fast-paced adventure story, and it is. Full of literally heart-stopping moments, CHEATING DEATH is an account of modern-day scientific miracles, most of which would have been unthinkable a decade or two ago, and which expand the very boundaries of life itself." —Oliver Sacks"

I owe my recovery and my health to medical advances and the remarkable pioneers behind them. In his new book, the World's Doctor, Sanjay Gupta, delivers a breathtaking preview of a coming revolution in medicine that challenges virtually everything we think we know about living and dying. A truly provocative and fascinating reading experience." —President Bill Clinton"

Sanjay Gupta melds dramatic stories of people on the cusp of death rescued by life-saving advances. This book deeply touches the heart and enlightens the mind." —Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, Author of How Doctors Think"

In Cheating Death, Dr. Sanjay Gupta chronicles a series of scientific advances that are saving patients' lives in striking and almost unfathomable ways. This is a wonderful book....All who read it will walk away feeling a sense of joy in the changes that Dr. Gupta so carefully and warmly details." —Henry S. Friedman, MD, James B. Powell, Jr. Professor of Neuro-Oncology; Deputy Director, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center"

Dr. Gupta has masterfully woven compelling human stories and medical drama that intersect that narrow line separating life from death. The brave doctors who courageously defy conventional wisdom and embrace bold science and the human condition will have you cheering and shaking your head in amazement." —Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D., NBC News Chief Medical Editor; Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania

Publishers Weekly
High-profile physician-journalist Gupta—a medical reporter for CNN and columnist for Time who declined President Obama's nomination to be surgeon general—knows a great story when he hears one, and in this collection he rolls out extraordinarily harrowing and inspiring tales from the annals of they-ought-to-be-dead. When there is an injury, a heart attack or any loss of oxygen to the brain, time is the essential factor in determining whether a patient will live. For instance, “therapeutic hypothermia,” by reducing the brain's need for oxygen immediately after a trauma, allows more time for treatments to work. Gupta also notes that lives can be saved through incremental changes to current medical techniques rather than revolutionary breakthroughs. Eliminating the breathing component from CPR and concentrating only on chest compressions has been shown to raise heart attack survival rates to an unheard-of 20%. The achievements are stunning, though Gupta notes “none of the exciting medical changes that we've come across will eliminate the sense of awe and mystery that stalks our notions of death.” Yet it's beyond comforting to know there are doctors who simply refuse to quit a brave but ultimately losing battle to wrestle control over death. (Oct. 12)
Library Journal
Practicing neurosurgeon, CNN medical correspondent, and best-selling author Gupta presents a nonfiction medical thriller about cutting-edge medical treatments ranging from therapeutic hypothermia to fetal surgery and informed by real-life stories and the latest medical research. Through his well-paced, distinct, and accent-free reading, Gupta displays his high comfort level with public speaking, using minimal medical jargon and providing clear and simple definitions. The sound quality is excellent, and the musical interludes meld nicely with the narration in the transitions between chapters. The only fault in this production is the lack of thought continuity between discs. Recommended for health-care professionals, students, and anyone interested in health care and advances in life-saving treatments. [Includes a bonus interview with the author; "Expect demand at public libraries from CNN viewers and readers of popular nonfiction," read the review of the Wellness Central hc, LJ 8/09.—Ed.]—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX
Kirkus Reviews
In this followup to Chasing Life (2007), neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Gupta illustrates just how fuzzy the line between life and death can be, and explains what medicine and science are doing to blur it even further. When the heart stops, when tests indicate "brain death," when a patient hasn't breathed for an hour or more-these have long been understood as hard-and-fast markers of death. Gupta uses real-life stories to reveal how ambiguous these situations actually are: a skier who was successfully resuscitated after spending more than an hour frozen underwater; a man who emerged from a coma unscathed after having been declared a "vegetable"; a 22-week-old fetus whose damaged heart was repaired in utero. These stories and the science behind them are rounded out with a look at those who seek to cheat death even further. Researchers challenge the status quo on CPR, doctors experiment with "therapeutic hypothermia" and scientists seek to induce suspended animation in injured soldiers by mimicking the chemistry of hibernating animals. Gupta always presents fascinating information, even if the prose is occasionally clumsy and the storytelling inelegant. The author tries to bring a balanced perspective to each issue. The chapter on "Cheating Death in the Womb," for instance, includes a much-needed counterpoint by a sociologist who emphasizes that pregnant women are patients in their own right, not simply fetal "heart-lung machines." Because Gupta focuses only on the "medical miracles," however, he misses an opportunity for an important cost-benefit analysis of the highly risky and often-unsuccessful attempts to "cheat death."Well-informed and accessible, but incomplete.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446508865
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
10/11/2010
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
355,744
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Sanjay Gupta melds dramatic stories of people on the cusp of death rescued by life-saving advances. This book deeply touches the heart and enlightens the mind. --Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think

I owe my recovery and my health to medical advances and the remarkable pioneers behind them. In The World's Doctor, Sanjay Gupta, delivers a breathtaking preview of a coming revolution in medicine that challenges virtually everything we think we know about living and dying. A truly provocative and fascinating reading experience. --William Jefferson Clinton

In Cheating Death, Dr. Sanjay Gupta chronicles scientific advances that are saving patients’ lives in striking and almost unfathomable ways. This is a wonderful book and should be read by both healthcare professionals and the lay public. All will walk away feeling a sense of joy in the changes that Dr. Gupta so carefully and warmly details. --Henry S. Friedman, M.D., James B. Powell, Jr. Professor of Neuro-Oncology; Deputy Director, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center

You will be on the edge of your seat as you read the superbly crafted stories of people who have beaten the odds, something I like to think I know quite a bit about. My friend Dr. Sanjay Gupta, America's doctor, has written a page-turner. It's an exciting medical thriller with the compassion, hope, excitement and aspiration that define Sanjay. --Lance Armstrong

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