“You Don’t Venture into the Wilderness Expecting to Find a Paved Road”

(p. 40) I, . . . , always considered the heart a pump, much the way a doctor explained it to Sandeep Jauhar during his cardiology fellowship. “In the end,” the doctor said, “cardiology is mostly a problem of plumbing.”

Jauhar quickly learned otherwise. His gripping new book, “Heart: A History,” had me nearly as enthralled with this pulsating body part as he seems to be. The tone — a physician excited about his specialty — takes a sharp turn from his first two memoirs. The first, “Intern,” was filled with uncertainty; the second, “Doctored,” with disillusionment.

. . .

We go into an operating room where a young girl is having open-heart surgery, tethered to a heart-lung machine. Then we learn that the concept for this machine began with one doctor’s brazen idea of connecting a patient to another person’s blood supply. He was inspired by the way a fetus feeds off its mother. Six of seven cases ended with a death.

Eventually, the heart-lung machine replaced the volunteers. The machine got off to a rough start too: 17 of the first 18 patients died. As one of the mid-20th-century researchers remarked, “You don’t venture into the wilderness expecting to find a paved road.”

For the full review, see:

Randi Hutter Epstein. “Bloody and Beating.” The New York Times Book Review (Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018): 40.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Nov. 5, 2018, and has the title “January’s Book Club Pick: ‘Heart: A History,’ by Sandeep Jauhar.”)

The book under review, is:

Jauhar, Sandeep. Heart: A History. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.

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