Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheating Death: My Review

Cheating Death is an easy to read, fascinating book that looks at how doctors are blurring the line between death and life, sometimes to restore life in cases that seemed hopeless. Sanjay Gupta, as you probably know, is a neurosurgeon and a medical correspondent for CNN. He writes in a way that makes it clear he is knowledgeable, but also makes his knowledge clear to lay people. He tells us about research that has shown that cooling the body can make it more resistant to loss of oxygenation--and gives stories of people helped by this technique. He discusses fetal surgery, telling not only how some has saved lives, but also giving time to someone who cautions against forgetting the mothers. He gives us some idea of how the research pipeline functions--from basic science, to small animal tests to large animal tests, and lets us see that what looks promising does not always work. Gupta even has a section about near death experiences and the research done about them.

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy. If you'd like to read this book, you have until October 31 to enter my giveaway.

2 comments:

  1. Gupta in his book "Cheating Death", and in interviews promoting the book, has done a huge disservice to the public, and created the potential for much unnecessary suffering. He has deliberately confused brain death with vegetative state, especially in Ch. 5. The two are very different. The general public needs to understand that a declaration of brain death, done by statutorily and professionally mandated protocol, is the most certain method we have of determining death. No one rises up from brain death. In confusing the difference between vegetative state and brain death Gupta is responsible for unnecessary distress for families whose loved ones have been declared brain dead, and for causing next of kin to reject organ donation and thereby causing the death of people, thousand of them children, on the transplant waiting lists.
    See http://www.nyuhjd.org/rusk/news/articles/11_23_ragucci.html for the real story of Mark Ragucci's recovery. Mark Ragucci is the surgeon that Gupta claims rose from brain death. Note that Ragucci was never declared brain dead.
    For information on brain death see: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/coma/coma.htm

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  2. I found this book fascinating and love that docs are not writing folks off so easily

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