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'Gifted Hands' Of American Surgeons Revolutionary In Scientific Medicine

Thu, 07/23/2009 - 11:45am

Renowned surgeon examines our most significant contributions to surgery—from crude procedures to precision operations

As a result of the scientific advances and medical innovations made in the twentieth century, the United States today occupies an established and unchallenged leading role in the field of surgery. Renowned surgeon Seymour I. Schwartz, MD, gives a sweeping history of American surgical practice in GIFTED HANDS: AMERICA'S MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO SURGERY (Prometheus Books). He describes how surgery in the United States has advanced from the comparatively crude practices of pioneering physicians in the pre-Columbian and colonial eras to its current level of preeminence in scientific surgery today.

Dr. Schwartz brilliantly describes centuries of the trial and error of some of the most significant medical breakthroughs, making GIFTED HANDS: AMERICA'S MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO SURGERY easily accessible for both laypeople and professionals. His engrossing narrative brings to life the personalities and sometimes dramatic conflicts that have revolutionized surgical science.

"[Schwartz] examines the very genesis of our field and takes readers on a historical yet dramatic ride through life-and-death decisions that set the tone for what has become modern-day surgery," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, faculty neurosurgeon at Emory Clinic; chief medical correspondent, CNN; and author of New York Times bestseller 'Chasing Life.' "There is no question that this is a book about heroes...compassionate intellectuals who forever changed the course of our medical history...Make no mistake; Seymour Schwartz is one of them."

Dr. Schwartz recounts some of the first surgical innovations of the nineteenth century, including the first successful abdominal surgery, the development of ether anesthesia, and the first successful gallbladder operation. He also highlights the evolution of vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and organ transplantation of the twentieth century.

In addition, some of medicine's great innovators—such as Nobel Prize winners Alexis Carrel, who developed a method to sew vessels together, and Joseph Murray, who worked on kidney transplantation in Boston—are honored in Dr. Schwartz's compelling descriptions.

"The lay readers of GIFTED HANDS will be fascinated with these stories of surgical progress," said Clyde F. Barker, MD, Guthrie professor of surgery, University of Pennsylvania; past chairman of surgery, University of Pennsylvania; and past president, American Surgical Association. "Students of surgical history will be equally rewarded with the completeness of Schwartz's research."

Complete with an array of intriguing illustrations, this definitive work will captivate general readers with its engaging narrative and will inform medical professionals through its solid historical research and medical expertise.

Seymour I. Schwartz, MD (Rochester, NY), a world-renowned surgeon, is the author of "Schwartz's Principles of Surgery," which in its seven editions and translations has sold more than 500,000 copies. Dr. Schwartz is equally renowned as a cartographic historian and is the author of many books on historical maps, including "Putting 'America' on the Map: The Story of the Most Important GraphicDocument in the History of the United States."

Sources: Prometheus Books, www.EurekAlert.org

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