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Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stephen Westaby

Biography & Memoir

Stephen Westaby

£6 - £12


Event duration: 1 hour

Location: Blenheim Palace, The Gallery

Pioneering heart surgeon Professor Stephen Westaby offers an insight into how it feels to literally hold a patient’s life in your hands.

Westaby has carried out 11,000 heart operations and, over the course of a long career, has taken chances, ignored the rules and pushed the boundaries to make heart surgery what it is today. He recalls some of his most remarkable cases, including the ‘pulseless man’ and the patient whose life was maintained for eight years with a battery.

Westaby is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He famously implanted an electric heart pump into patient Peter Houghton in 2000. Mr Houghton went on to be the longest-living patient with an electric heart pump in the world. Westaby is a critic of publication of the death rates of heart surgeons, arguing that it discourages the most skilled surgeons from taking on difficult cases.

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