Taut, elegantly written, and ever-attentive to the patients for whom he was the last best chance, Close to the Sun is an adventurous, riveting account based on the experience of over 40,000 heart surgeries, where everything was on the line every moment in the O.R.
Stuart Jamieson has lived two lives. One began in heat and dust. Born to British ex-pats in colonial Africa, Jamieson was sent at the age of eight to a local boarding school, where heartless instructors bullied and tormented their students. In the summers he escaped to fish on crocodile-infested rivers and explore the African bush. As a teenager, an apprenticeship with one of Africa’s most fabled trackers taught Jamieson how to deal with dangerous game and even more dangerous poachers, lessons that would later serve him well in the high-stakes career he chose.
Jamieson’s second life unfolded when he went to London to study medicine during the turbulent 1960s, leaving behind the only home he knew as it descended into revolution. Brilliant and self-assured, Jamieson advanced quickly in the still-new field of open-heart surgery. It was a fraught time. For patients with terminal heart disease, heart transplants were the new hope. But poor outcomes had all but ended the procedure.
In 1978 Jamieson came to America and to Stanford—the only cardiac center in the world doing heart transplants successfully. Here, Jamieson’s pioneering work on the anti-rejection drug cyclosporin would help to make heart transplantation a routine life-saving operation, that is still in practice today as he continues to train the next generation of heart surgeons. Stuart Jamieson’s story is the story of four decades of advances in heart surgery.
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About the Author
Stuart Jamieson’s research at Stanford University in the late 1970s revolutionized heart transplantation through the development of the anti-rejection drug cyclosporin, which also made lung transplantation possible. Named a “Living Legend” by the World Society of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, he is the author of two books and more than 500 scientific papers, including the original descriptions of the techniques used for both heart/lung and double lung transplantation.
Dr. Jamieson is the Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Surgery, and Dean of Cardiovascular Affairs at the University of California, San Diego. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich.
Away from the hospital, Dr. Jamieson is a cattle rancher and commercial helicopter pilot, and collects and studies ancient medical manuscripts and antique watches.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Africa
Chapter 1 Starting Over 13
Chapter 2 Bulawayo 18
Chapter 3 Whitestone 38
Chapter 4 Serondella 50
Chapter 5 In This Way You Become Immortal 69
Chapter 6 An Unspoiled Land 76
Part 2 The Cutting Edge
Chapter 7 London 91
Chapter 8 Another World 115
Chapter 9 In the Bush Beneath the Moon 124
Chapter 10 Tiger Country 132
Chapter 11 The Difficulty of Not Self 140
Chapter 12 A Matter of Life and Death 150
Chapter 13 Mr. Lennox Would Like to Know What the Problem Is 156
Chapter 14 The Beating Heart 170
Part 3 America
Chapter 15 Nobody Threw Instruments on the Floor 179
Chapter 16 Blood and Air 199
Chapter 17 Winning Hearts and Minds 210
Chapter 18 On My Own in a Cold Place 241
Chapter 19 Exile 263
Chapter 20 California Calls 277
Chapter 21 The Long View 296
Bibliography and Suggested Reading 330