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The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

by Hannah Wunsch
The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

by Hannah Wunsch

eBook

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Overview

"A perfectly pitched medical mystery that will captivate you from page one."—Wes Ely, MD, MPH, author of Every Deep-Drawn Breath, winner of the 2022 Christopher Award for Literature.

A suspenseful, authoritative account of how the battle against a mid-century polio epidemic sparked a revolution in medical care.

Americans knew polio as the "summer plague." In countries further North, however, the virus arrived later in the year, slipping into the homes of healthy children as the summer waned and the equinox approached. It was described by one writer as "the autumn ghost."

Intensive care units and mechanical ventilation are the crucial foundation of modern medical care: without them, the appalling death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic would be even higher. In The Autumn Ghost, Dr. Hannah Wunsch traces the origins of these two innovations back to a polio epidemic in the autumn of 1952. Drawing together compelling testimony from doctors, nurses, medical students, and patients, Wunsch relates a gripping tale of an epidemic that changed the world.

In vivid, captivating chapters, Wunsch tells the dramatic true story of how insiders and iconoclasts came together in one overwhelmed hospital in Copenhagen to save the lives of many polio patients dying of respiratory failure. Their radical advances in care marked a turning point in the treatment of patients around the world—from the rise of life support and the creation of intensive care units to the evolution of rehabilitation medicine.

Moving and informative, The Autumn Ghost will leave readers in awe of the courage of those who battled the polio epidemic, and grateful for the modern medical care they pioneered.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781771649469
Publisher: Greystone Books
Publication date: 05/09/2023
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook

About the Author

Hannah Wunsch is a critical care physician and researcher at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre. She is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the University of Toronto and holds a Canada Research Chair. She lives in Toronto, Ontario and Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The Autumn Ghost is her first book.

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