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Cover for The Masters of Medicine

The Masters of Medicine

Our Greatest Triumphs in the Race to Cure Humanity's Deadliest Diseases

Andrew Lam


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An in-depth look at the mavericks, moments, and mistakes that sparked the greatest medical discoveries in modern times—plus the cures that will help us live longer and healthier lives in this century . . . and beyond

Human history hinges on the battle to confront our most dangerous enemies—the half-dozen diseases responsible for killing almost all of mankind. The story of our medical triumphs reveals an inspiring tapestry of human achievement, but the journey was far from smooth. It is a tale replete with dramatic episodes as spellbinding as any blockbuster Hollywood movie.

In The Masters of Medicine, Dr. Andrew Lam, an award-winning author and retinal surgeon, distills the long arc of medical progress down to the crucial moments that were responsible for the world’s greatest medical miracles. He brings to life heroic tales of embattled mavericks who endured ridicule and sometimes risked their own lives to conceive the incredible, life-saving cures we depend on, and often take for granted, today. 

Readers will discover fascinating true stories throughout history, including:
  • Rival surgeons who killed patient after patient in their race to operate on beating hearts—and put us on the path toward the life-saving heart transplant
  • A quartet of Canadians who miraculously discovered insulin in a saga marred by jealousy and resentment
  • The discovery of penicillin, and the long-suffering doctors who gave it to the world but were robbed of the credit 
  • The feud between two Americans in the quest for the polio vaccine, a contest that persisted long after both died and continues today
  • The discredited New York surgeon whose “heretical” idea to cure patients by deliberately infecting them has now inspired our next best hope to defeat cancer
  • The Hungarian doctor who solved the greatest mystery of maternal deaths in childbirth, only to be ostracized for his discovery

The Masters of Medicine is a fascinating chronicle of human courage, audacity, error, and luck. This riveting ode to mankind expertly highlights the battle against deaths from heart attacks, diabetes, infection, cancer, trauma, and childbirth, revealing why the past is prelude to the game-changing breakthroughs of tomorrow.

BenBella Books, 9781637742631, 368pp.

Publication Date: April 18, 2023

About the Author

Andrew Lam, MD, is an award-winning author and retinal surgeon. He has authored numerous scientific articles, is a co-investigator for several national clinical trials, and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.