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August 1957

Straight to the Heart: A Personal Account of Thoughts and Feelings While Undergoing Heart Surgery.

Author Affiliations

By George Lawton, with special supplement by Ethel Lawton. Price, $5. Pp. 347. International Universities Press, Inc., 227 W. 13th St., New York 11, 1956.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(2):336. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260080162035

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Almost any surgical operation has a certain inevitable drama connected with it. This no doubt is one of the reasons why people have been willing to pay surgeons very large fees for cutting them up. The dramatic qualities of an operation on the heart are such that even conservative laymen are likely to get a little starry-eyed and ecstatic. This book by Lawton describes a patient's-eye-view of cardiac surgery. If one can stomach the flamboyant deification of his surgeon and the implication that he is not only the greatest and best, but also, as it were, the only real surgeon for heart operations and his hospital and the only cardiac shrine, this book has some interesting discussion of how patients feel and react to illness, operaions, and convalescence. While it is well for doctors to be thoroughly imbued with the patient's reactions to them, I do not believe that this

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