By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
The new book Cheating Death - written and
read by CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta - is amazing,
and at times shocking. Bringing to light instances where patients - who
were clinically dead and brought back to life by doctors who refused to
believe what the
heart monitors showed - the book highlights
medical personnel wouldn't give up and were willing to try experimental
procedures that saved a life.
Dr. Gupta states, "We're
use to thinking of dying in stark terms. Dead or alive; you're here,
and then you're gone." He notes that the process of death is much
more intricate and methodic - literally starting from the top, the
brain, to the bottom, organ failure.
Giving us a glimpse into his
life, Dr. Gupta tells of the first time he witnessed this process as a
third year medical student at the University of Michigan. Since
that time, he has wondered if there was a way to give a person, in the
process of dying, just a little more time, a way to "…shift
the line between life and death."
Being honest and blunt, Dr.
Gupta relates that there is no such thing as immediate death - being
killed instantly - and that death is not a single event. When the heart
stops beating, it's not the end; death is a process that may be
interrupted - and sometimes even reversed. He notes that there is
the possibility of cheating death, and that our bodies can
"modify" in order to survive.
From using hypothermia as a
way to save heart attack victims, and exploring the world around us for
examples of how other species survive in extreme and harsh
environments, it's explained that we are getting closer and closer to
actually cheating death. At times, Dr. Gupta's stories seem like
they belong in science fiction books. But as we look at the world
around us, it is indeed shifting to that very realm.
As hard as it is to believe,
we witness it on a daily basis. The HemCon Bandage can stop arterial
bleeding and is being used for head and neck wound trauma, car
accidents and even gun shot wounds. Researchers and scientists are
closer to developing a vaccine to hinder HIV. Hodgkins Disease, a
cancer that once was a death sentence, can now be cured in 90% of those
diagnosed - even those in Stage 4 of the disease.
Pleasantly surprised and at
times captivated, Dr. Gupta brought me into his world and held my
attention. Cheating Death is a must have, in audiobook, Kindle, e-book, hardback
or paperback - however you get it, it is a must read for anyone in
medical school, those who ail from debilitating diseases, or those of
you who want to know just how far medicine has come in the past 20
years. And how you and your doctors can sometime actually cheat
Nick Manix is a professional writer and journalist
who splits his time between Central Texas and New Orleans.
(Cover image courtesy Amazon.com)