SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY PRIZE
THE SUNDAY TIMES NO.2 BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BMA PRESIDENT’S AWARD 2017
An fantastic memoir from one of the most world’s most eminent heart surgeons, recalling one of the vital most remarkable and poignant cases he’s worked on.
Grim Reaper sits on the heart surgeon’s shoulder. A slip of the hand and life ebbs away.
The balance between life and death is so delicate, and the heart surgeon walks that rope between the two. In the operating room there’s no time for doubt. It’s flesh, blood, 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. Cardiac surgery isn’t for the faint of heart.
Professor Stephen Westaby took chances and pushed the boundaries of heart surgery. He saved hundreds of lives over the course of a thirty-five year career and now, in his astounding memoir, Westaby details some of his most remarkable and poignant cases – such as the baby who had suffered a couple of heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life used to be powered by a battery for eight years.
A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and every now and then tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold anyone’s life in your hands.