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Stephen Westaby - Author

About the Author

Steve Westaby is a celebrated world-famous heart surgeon who is renowned for being the first surgeon in history to fit a patient with a new type of artificial heart. During his 35-year career as a surgeon he worked at several of the UK's top hospitals and performed over 11,000 heart operations. He won the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement (2004). In 2004 Steve Westaby was featured in the BBC documentary Your Life in Their Hands, which is a long-running series on the subject of surgery.

Featured books by Stephen Westaby

Other books by Stephen Westaby

The Knife's Edge

The Knife's Edge

Author: Stephen Westaby Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2019

An intimate and compelling exploration into the unique psyche of the heart surgeon, by one of the profession's most eminent figures. Although Professor Stephen Westaby was born with the necessary coordination and manual dexterity, it was a head trauma sustained during university that gifted him the qualities of an exceptional heart surgeon: qualities that are frequently associated with psychopathy. His thirty-five-year career has been characterised by fearlessness and ruthless ambition; leaving empathy at the hospital door as thousands of patients put their lives in his hands. For heart surgeons, the inevitable cost of failure is death and in The Knife's Edge, Westaby reflects on the unique mindset of those who are drawn to this exhilarating and often tragic profession. We discover the pioneers who grasped opportunities and took chances to drive innovation and save lives. Often difficult, uninhibited and fearless, theirs is a field constantly threatened by the risk of public failure. Like those before him, Westaby refuses to draw the line in his search of a lifetime solution to problems of the heart. His determination is unerring - a steadfastness underpinned by his unusual mind. But as we glimpse into the future of cardiac surgery, for all its remarkable scientific advancement, one question remains: within the confines of socialised medical healthcare systems, how can heart surgeons - individuals often hardwired with avoidance of self-doubt, a penchant for glory and a flagrant disregard for authority - truly flourish?

The Knife's Edge

The Knife's Edge

Author: Stephen Westaby Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/02/2019

An intimate and compelling exploration into the unique psyche of the heart surgeon, by one of the profession's most eminent figures. Although Professor Stephen Westaby was born with the necessary coordination and manual dexterity, it was a head trauma sustained during university that gifted him the qualities of an exceptional heart surgeon: qualities that are frequently associated with psychopathy. His thirty-five-year career has been characterised by fearlessness and ruthless ambition; leaving empathy at the hospital door as thousands of patients put their lives in his hands. For heart surgeons, the inevitable cost of failure is death and in The Knife's Edge, Westaby reflects on the unique mindset of those who are drawn to this exhilarating and often tragic profession. We discover the pioneers who grasped opportunities and took chances to drive innovation and save lives. Often difficult, uninhibited and fearless, theirs is a field constantly threatened by the risk of public failure. Like those before him, Westaby refuses to draw the line in his search of a lifetime solution to problems of the heart. His determination is unerring - a steadfastness underpinned by his unusual mind. But as we glimpse into the future of cardiac surgery, for all its remarkable scientific advancement, one question remains: within the confines of socialised medical healthcare systems, how can heart surgeons - individuals often hardwired with avoidance of self-doubt, a penchant for glory and a flagrant disregard for authority - truly flourish?

Open Heart

Open Heart

Author: Stephen Westaby Format: eBook Release Date: 20/06/2017

In gripping prose, one of the world's leading cardiac surgeons lays bare both the wonder and the horror of a life spent a heartbeat away from deathWhen Stephen Westaby witnessed a patient die on the table during 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 is a crucial survival strategy in a profession where death is only a heartbeat away. 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, he recounts harrowing and sometimes hopeful 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 heart transplant-only to die once it's in place.For readers of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and of Henry Marsh's Do No Harm, Open Heart offers a soul-baring account of a life spent in constant confrontation with death.

Fragile Lives A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

Fragile Lives A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

Author: Stephen Westaby Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/02/2017

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY PRIZE THE SUNDAY TIMES NO.2 BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE BMA PRESIDENT'S AWARD 2017 An incredible memoir from one of the world's most eminent heart surgeons, recalling some of the 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 is no time for doubt. It is 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 is not 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 multiple heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years. A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone's life in your hands.

Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

Author: Stephen Westaby Format: eBook Release Date: 09/02/2017

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY PRIZETHE SUNDAY TIMES NO.2 BESTSELLERWINNER OF THE BMA PRESIDENT'S AWARD 2017An incredible memoir from one of the world's most eminent heart surgeons, recalling some of the 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 is no time for doubt. It is 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 is not 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 multiple heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years.A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone's life in your hands.

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