Nov 24, 2009

Book Review: Cheating Death by Sanjay Gupta, MD

Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that Are Saving Lives Against All Odds Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that Are Saving Lives Against All Odds by Sanjay Gupta

Publisher's description : "Twenty years ago all of them would have been given up for dead, with no realistic hope for survival. But today, thanks to incredible new medical advances, each of these individuals is alive and well...

In this riveting book, Dr. Sanjay Gupta - neurosurgeon, chief medical correspondent for CNN, and bestselling author - chronicles the almost unbelievable science that has made these seemingly miraculous recoveries possible."

My comments: There are eight chapters with many stories of people cheating death through modern medicine. The book is well researched and there are extensive notes at the end for those who want to read more about the cases. Cheating Death makes for easy reading. Even though it's not very technical, even people who know about the medical field would be interested in the narratives.

One particularly good story was the case "where a patient seems to have accurate memories from a time when he or she was measurably, clinically dead. There are thousands of stories like this, but it's extremely rare to find one that comes with medical documentation." (ch. 4) The incident Dr. Gupta recounts is of the experience of Pam Reynolds in 1991 during a brain operation when she had no brain activity for a brief time. Pam recalls feeling her late grandmother calling her to enter a tunnel with a light beckoning at the end, but other deceased relatives warned her to turn back. A deceased uncle led Pam back to the place where she saw herself, in a kind of out-of-body experience, lying on the operating table . Pam also had flashbacks to the past.

According to Dr. Gupta, "(Pam) is easily the most-cited example of a person having memories at a time when they were clinically dead."  I found some of the discussions well worth reading, topics such as "What is death?"

Thanks to Hachette for a review copy of this book.
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  1. Great review. I've seen Dr. Gupta on TV, but didn't know about his book. Sounds intriguing, especially the part about after-death experiences. Don't know what I really think about that possibility, but it's an interesting subject.

  2. Very interesting. I know a lot of people who are fascinated by the 'memories while dead' phenomenon. Sounds like a worthwhile read - maybe they should stock it in hospital waiting rooms? :)


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