Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

Extreme Medicine is a book about life: its fragility, its fractal beauty, and its resilience. It is about a century during which our expectations of life transformed beyond all recognition, when we took what was routinely fatal and made it survivable. With heart transplants, intensive care, trauma surgery, and state-of-the-art life support, this exploration of the human body was no less extreme than our forays in the physical world.

The theme of rapid advance, using technology and science to surround our physiology like a cocoon, runs through all of the stories in this book. Each chapter of the book focuses on one of the modern limits of survivability—the extremes of cold, heat, critical illness, traumatic injury, disease, war, vacuum, and finally old age. Juxtaposed with the explorations of physical extremes is a litany of extraordinary medical advances. Avant-garde medicine is fundamentally changing our ideas about how our bodies work and of the nature of the boundary between life and death.

Extreme Medicine is a book about medicine but also about exploration in its broadest sense—and about how, by probing the very limits of our biology, we may ultimately return with a better appreciation of precisely how our bodies work, of what life is, and what it means to be human.

- Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century by Kevin Fong, M.D.

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