Every Second Counts: The Race To Transplant The First Human Heart

Every Second Counts: The Race To Transplant The First Human Heart

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In the tradition of The Right Stuff comes the true story of four men locked in a race to transplant the first human heart--a riveting tale of surgical daring, unyielding ambition, and scientific adventure.

Many people remember the beaming face of Christiaan Barnard, the South African surgeon, after he performed the first human heart transplant, and captured the world's imagination. It was a stunning achievement, but he was not alone. In truth it was a four-way race, a fierce struggle fraught with passionate rivalry. The other three surgeons-Adrian Kantrowitz, Norman Shumway, and Richard Lower-were giants in the field, and by early December 1967 they and Barnard were each poised to snatch the victor's laurels. Each had spent years perfecting techniques that would lead to a successful heart transplant; each had monitored his chosen patient's condition, watching the clock, hoping a donor would be found in time.

Some of these men were friends; others were enemies. Only one of them would be the first.

From a dank, underequipped hospital in Cape Town to a cramped lab in San Francisco, the surgeons worked their own individual miracles to prolong their patients' lives, testing the limits of science, and nature itself. Like the classics of medical adventure-from James Watson's The Double Helix to John Barry's The Great Influenza-Every Second Counts is an unforgettable story of not only competition and fame, but of life and death.

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