Genius on the Edge
The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted
By Gerald Imber
(Kaplan Publishing, Paperback, 9781607148586, 389pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
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""Gerald Imber's new biography is the first retelling of Halstead's story in many decades and a particularly expert and thoughtprovoking narrative makes the intense strangeness of Halstead's subsequent career a gripping story."
"--Abigail Zuger, New York Times Science Section"
Dr. William Stewart Halsted's life was fascinating and complex. Halsted, perhaps the most important surgeon America has ever produced, battled a lifelong cocaine addiction and maintained numerous secret relationships while simultaneously devising revolutionary medical innovations. Yet the story of Halsted's life, one of seemingly irreconcilable extremes, is in many ways the story of modern medicine.
Before Halsted, poorly-trained doctors performed surgery without anesthesia in unsanitary conditions and patients were rarely expected to survive. Halstead transformed the medical practice by inventing local and spinal anesthesia; introducing the use of rubber gloves during surgery; pioneering the use of fine silk thread for sutures; developing techniques for stabilizing blood pressure during surgery; and inventing the radical mastectomy, blood transfusions, and surgical cures for hernias.
"Genius on the Edge" is an illuminating biography of a complex and troubled man whose brilliance we continue to benefit
Science has a way of getting inside our heads â�� especially when it comes to the powers of the mind. Author and neurologist Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa recommends three brilliant brain-teasing books. More at NPR.org
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