King of Hearts:
The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery
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Random House/Times Books, hardcover, February 2000.
Random House/Three Rivers, new edition, February 2002
Few of the great stories of medicine are as palpably dramatic
as the invention of open-heart surgery, yet, until now, no
journalist has ever brought all of the thrilling specifics of this
triumph to life.
This is the story of the surgeon many call the father of
open-heart surgery, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, who, along with
colleagues at University Hospital in Minneapolis and a small
band of pioneers elsewhere, accomplished what many
experts considered to be an impossible feat: He opened the
heart, repaired fatal defects, and made the miraculous
Acclaimed author G. Wayne Miller draws on archival
research and exclusive interviews with Lillehei and legendary
pioneers such as Michael DeBakey and Christiaan Barnard,
taking readers into the lives of these doctors and their
patients as they progress toward their landmark
achievement. In the tradition of works by Richard Rhodes
and Tracy Kidder, King of Hearts tells the story of an
important and gripping piece of forgotten science history.