Open Heart
One of the world's leading heart surgeons shares the hard-won lessons of a life lived where failure and death are just a heartbeat awayWhen Stephen Westaby witnessed a patient die on the table during an open heart surgery for the first time, he was struck by the quiet, determined way the surgeons walked away. As he soon understood, this detachment was a crucial survival strategy. In a profession where failure is literally a heartbeat away and the cost of that failure is death, how else could he live with the consequences of his performance? In Open Heart, Westaby reflects on over 11,000 surgeries, showing us why the procedures have never become routine and will never be. With astonishing compassion and candor, Dr. Westaby recounts the fraught and alarming stories from his operating room: we meet a pulseless man who lives with an electric heart pump, an expecting mother who refuses surgery unless the doctors let her pregnancy reach full term, and a baby who gets a transplanted heart-only to die once it's in place. For readers of Atul Gawande and of Henry Marsh's Do No Harm, Open Heart offers unforgettable insight into how to push back death, until nothing is left to do but to accept it.

Open Heart Details

TitleOpen Heart
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 20th, 2017
PublisherBasic Books
ISBN046509483X
ISBN-139780465094837
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreMedical, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir

Open Heart Review

  • Kay
    June 3, 2017
    While I work in the medical field, this was a hard book to get into. It had a lot of information, and was very wordy. I enjoyed the book, but for the non-medical person, it may be "a lot". I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads but it has no bearing on the rating I gave it. Thank you to author and Goodreads!
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  • Warren Benton
    June 21, 2017
    So now done with the back history onto the book review.  Westaby comes across somewhat cocky.  But through his writing it made sense.  He wasn't as much cocky as someone who pushed to make a change in people's lives.  "Cardiac Surgery is like quicksand - once in it, you were sucked deeper and deeper."  Westaby recounts many of his cases.  as true with all of life, some of these stories are not a happy ending.Parts of this book may be a little hard to understand as Westaby throw out lots of terms So now done with the back history onto the book review.  Westaby comes across somewhat cocky.  But through his writing it made sense.  He wasn't as much cocky as someone who pushed to make a change in people's lives.  "Cardiac Surgery is like quicksand - once in it, you were sucked deeper and deeper."  Westaby recounts many of his cases.  as true with all of life, some of these stories are not a happy ending.Parts of this book may be a little hard to understand as Westaby throw out lots of terms.  But it is nothing that a little Google searching cannot remedy.  Westaby talks of putting in Heartmate pump that helps people with heart failure.  He talks of the noise that it makes.  "But patients get used to that.  Like mechanical heart valve patients get used to the tick, tick, tick, tick in the dead of night."  As someone with a mechanical heart valve, I would have to agree we do get used to the noise as a part of everyday life.  It is a necessary evil!Not all of the cases are of saving the day heroism.  Some of these cases despite everything the doctors did the patient still died.  I did enjoy learning about heart pumps and it is great that people have been able to live with them for many years.  
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  • Amanda
    May 12, 2017
    I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.Stephen Westaby is a very talented cardiac surgeon who is clearly passionate about his career field. The beginning of the book had a bit of a strange vibe that I couldn't quite figure out. He seemed almost arrogant but also not, at the same time. As I kept reading I realized he was blunt, intelligent, innovative, frustrated with aspects of the healthcare system, and caring. For me liking the author and the vib I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.Stephen Westaby is a very talented cardiac surgeon who is clearly passionate about his career field. The beginning of the book had a bit of a strange vibe that I couldn't quite figure out. He seemed almost arrogant but also not, at the same time. As I kept reading I realized he was blunt, intelligent, innovative, frustrated with aspects of the healthcare system, and caring. For me liking the author and the vibe of the book is important. His innovations in cardiac surgery over time are incredibly impressive, especially his use of artificial heart technology. I enjoyed learning more about cardiac surgery through each of his fascinating patient cases. Also his post operative maintenance is phenomenal and constantly evolving. Overall, Open Heart by Stephen Westaby was an interesting and impressive read despite my apprehension at the beginning.
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  • Helen
    July 7, 2017
    4.5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Westaby’s memoir Open Heart, A Cardiac Surgeon’s Story of Life and Death on the Operating Table. This book is a collection of stories about his patients who he helped over the years with cardiac surgery. He was a pioneer in the use of the left ventricular assist device that saved the lives of patients with heart failure. I found him to be humble in describing his accomplishments and frustrated with the national health care system in England. So many patient 4.5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Westaby’s memoir Open Heart, A Cardiac Surgeon’s Story of Life and Death on the Operating Table. This book is a collection of stories about his patients who he helped over the years with cardiac surgery. He was a pioneer in the use of the left ventricular assist device that saved the lives of patients with heart failure. I found him to be humble in describing his accomplishments and frustrated with the national health care system in England. So many patients could have been helped but were refused due to cost. Dr. Westaby is an excellent writer and I was totally absorbed in his stories about his patients. He shared both good and bad outcomes and was very reflective as he reviewed his surgical career.
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  • PWRL
    July 3, 2017
    E
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