Dr. Pensack's story chronicles his near life-long struggle with a mortal illness, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or HCM (formally known as IHSS), a genetic illness marked by abnormality of the heart muscle. After the disease claimed the life of his young mother, the adolescent Pensack--and his brother Richard, who also suffered from HCM--went on to become chronic-research heart patients at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. They endured a litany of surgeries and multiple near-death experiences caused by cardiac arrests until, thirty years later, both received heart transplants that saved their lives. Remarkably--and coincidentally--Dr. Pensack played a vital role in the evolution of organ transplantation and in his own survival, helping to produce one of the anti-rejection drugs with which he himself was later treated at the time of his greatest need.
From recounting his feeling of being condemned to an existence laden with insufferable burden to the hope restored through the ultimate gift of life, Raising Lazarus is Dr. Pensack's inspirational story of survival and triumph.
"Extraordinary...A doctor's memoir of his struggle against his own illness...An intimate account of the remarkable medical advances of the last few decades from [a] unique point of view."--New York Times Book Review