stephen-westaby

Stephen Westaby

Fragile Lives: Life and Death on the Operating Table

May/
Wed 24 May 2017

Stephen Westaby

Fragile Lives: Life and Death on the Operating Table

stephen-westaby
Wed 24 May 2017,

The balance between life and death is so delicate, and the heart surgeon walks that rope between the two. But in the operating room there is no time for such contemplation or philosophy. There is no time for doubt. It is blood, gore, rib-retractors and pumping the vital organ with your bare hand to squeeze the life back into it. An off-day can have dire consequences – this job has a steep learning curve, and the cost is measured in human life.

Stephen Westaby took all the chances, ignored all the rules and pushed the boundaries to make heart surgery what it is today. At the forefront of pioneering cardiac technology, and having carried out 11,000 heart operations over his career, he has seen it all. Now he details some of his most remarkable and poignant cases, such as ‘the pulseless man’, a tiny baby who silently suffered multiple heart attacks, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome after surgery and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years.

He offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone’s life in your hands.

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