This history of the heart and cardiac medicine-as told by a writer with a congenital heart defect-ponders issues of mortality, empathy, and the things that make us human.
Born in 1966 with a congenital heart defect known as the Tetralogy of Fallot, Gabriel Brownstein entered the world at a unique moment in the history of heart disease. He received a life-saving surgery at five years old, but surviving with his condition meant riding wave after wave of innovation to keep his heart beating.
The Open Heart Club is both a memoir of a life on the edge of mortality and a history of the remarkable people who have made such a life possible. It begins in the 17th century when Nicolas Steno proved that the heart was made of muscle rather than the stuff of souls, and continues through today, with scientists who are trying to rewrite genetic codes to create the next wave of miracle cures. In the tradition of Oliver Sacks’ A Leg to Stand On or Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon, this is a far-reaching book full of eye-opening research and compassionate, riveting storytelling.