By Kevin Fong M.D.

Little multiple hundred years in the past, maps of the area nonetheless boasted white area: locations the place no human had ever trod. inside of a couple of brief many years the main adversarial of the world's environments had all been conquered. Likewise, within the 20th century, medication reworked human lifestyles. medical professionals took what used to be usually deadly and made it survivable. As modernity introduced us ever extra into other kinds of extremes, medical professionals driven the limits of scientific advances and human patience. severe exploration challenged the physique in ways in which simply the leading edge of technology might solution. medical professionals, scientists, and explorers all percentage a defining trait: they push on within the face of grim odds. as a result of their severe exploration we not just comprehend our body structure higher; we've got additionally made huge, immense strides within the technological know-how of healing.

Drawing on his personal event as an anesthesiologist, in depth care professional, and NASA adviser, Dr. Kevin Fong examines how state-of-the-art drugs pushes the envelope of human survival by way of learning the human body's reaction whilst established by way of actual extremes. Extreme Medicine explores assorted limits of patience and the lens every one bargains on one of many structures of the physique. The demanding situations of Arctic exploration created possibilities for breakthroughs in open middle surgical procedure; battlefield medical professionals pioneered ideas for epidermis grafts, center surgical procedure, and trauma care; underwater and outer area exploration have revolutionized our realizing of respiring, gravity, and lots more and plenty extra. Avant-garde drugs is essentially altering our principles concerning the nature of lifestyles and death.

via incredible debts of striking occasions and pioneering drugs, Fong illustrates the sheer audacity of clinical perform at severe limits, the place human existence is balanced on a knife's area. Extreme Medicine is a gripping debut concerning the technology of therapeutic, but in addition approximately exploration in its broadest sense—and approximately how, via probing the very limits of our biology, we might eventually go back with a greater appreciation of the way bodies paintings, of what existence is, and what it potential to be human.

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ON AUGUST 31, 1940, the Battle of Britain was reaching a critical phase. The Luftwaffe was mercilessly bombing the Royal Air Force’s airfields. Fighter Command was losing aircraft faster than they could be replaced, and the remaining pilots were fatigued. Throughout the south of England, fighter squadrons had scrambled time and time again to meet waves of German bombers escorted by Messerschmitt fighter planes.

He used a heart-lung bypass machine to cool the body to a mere 18°C. ) before stopping the heart completely. Then, while the heart and circulation were at a standstill, Dr. Elefteriades performed the complicated repair, racing the clock while his patient lay dying on the operating table. — ON THE DAY OF THE OPERATION, I was there to watch this remarkable feat of surgery. Though Dr. Elefteriades is an old hand with the technique of deep hypothermic arrest, every time feels like a leap of faith. Once the circulation has come to a standstill, he has no more than about forty-five minutes to complete the repair before irreversible damage to the patient’s brain occurs.

A sixty-year-old man with full-thickness burns over 40 percent of his body, for example, would not be expected to live. Today that is an outmoded concept; older people with more extensive burns are surviving against expectations, due in large part to the efforts of specialist burn units and the hard-won lessons of the twentieth century. Aggressive resuscitation with fluids, trauma systems, and early transfer to specialist units all helped to improve survival rates. But in 1940 the medical fraternity knew little or nothing of all of this.

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