Life with Sudden Death (Paperback)

A Tale of Moral Hazard and Medical Misadventure

By Michael Downing

Counterpoint LLC, 9781582436159, 244pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2010

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Michael Downing was three when his father died suddenly and inexplicably. No autopsy was performed. The family diagnosis was God's will.

As a boy in the Berkshires, Downing was rigorously trained as a spiritual athlete, but he couldn't exorcise his fondness for the wrong books and other boys. He aimed for Harvard and escaped his inherited sense of identity--until one of his brothers died in 2003, suddenly and inexplicably. Again, no autopsy was performed.

Alarmed, Downing pursued a diagnosis and discovered he had inherited a mutant protein from his father, and that the first symptom would likely be his sudden death.

Downing had a defibrillator hardwired to his heart. Within weeks, he needed emergency surgery to extract the device and the life-threatening infection he got with it. Three months later, he was reimplanted--only to read in his morning newspaper that the new electrical wires anchored to his heart were prone to failure.

Life with Sudden Death explores a simple question: Who can you trust with your life?