Close to the Sun: The Journey of a Pioneer Heart Surgeon

Dear Friends:

Dr. Stuart W. Jamieson is an internationally renowned heart surgeon, a heart- and lung-transplant pioneer, and a veteran of more than 40,000 heart surgeries. When he asked me if I would could see my way clear to letting you know about his soon-to-be published autobiography, I agreed. His journey has been extraordinary and has done much to advance technology in surgery resulting in better healthcare for everyone. – Dr. Anton

Stuart Jamieson’s autobiography, Close to the Sun, is to be published by Rosetta Books on March 12, 2019.

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Dr. Stuart Jamieson recalls the astonishing image of a chest opened for surgery with an empty place at the center. The date was July 4, 1979 and Jamieson was about to perform his first heart transplant.

Though thousands of heart transplants are now performed each year worldwide, in 1979 the operation was still subject to frequent failure. In his book, Close to the Sun, Jamieson takes us on a journey back to those days and into the research labs and operating rooms where transplant surgery was being refined

Jamieson was responsible for many of those advances. He is the veteran of more than 40,000 heart surgeries and the author of more than 500 scientific papers, detailing his seminal work in heart, heart-lung transplants, double-lung transplants and the development of cyclosporine. That anti-rejection drug removed the leading obstacle to transplant surgery, thereby dramatically improving success rates.

Close to the Sun chronicles the education, trials and triumphs of a physician and examines Jamieson’s formative years in a land of natural beauty, racial apartheid and at a harsh boarding school, where physical beatings were common.

Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe,) Jamieson escaped his homeland’s civil war for higher education and medical school at the University of London. He did some of his early training at Brompton Hospital, Britain’s top cardiac facility. A fellowship brought him to California and Stanford University, where he trained and worked with Dr. Norman Shumway, widely regarded as father of heart transplant surgery.

Not only was Jamieson lucky enough to be at the right place at right time, he possessed a single-minded determination to master and advance the science and craft of heart surgery. Much of the time, he worked seven days a week, essentially living at the Palo Alto medical center so he could oversee his patients’ progress. He rose to the post of Director of Heart-Lung Transplantation at Stanford.

Jamieson went on to build leading heart and lung transplant centers in Minneapolis and at the University of California San Diego, where today he is a Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Dean of Cardiovascular Affairs.

More than just an autobiography or a history, Close to the Sun portrays how medical science advances. It examines the ingredients of medical breakthroughs: painstaking research punctuated by dramatic new insights and the difficult, often split-second, ethical decisions in employing experimental procedures made as patients’ medical conditions teeter.

Jamieson writes, too, about the bare-knuckled politics of an academic institution, where his willingness to buck a higher up in pursuit of creating a top-notch heart transplant center – a challenge he was recruited for – nearly cost him his career.

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About Dr. Jamieson:
In addition to being an internationally renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Stuart W. Jamieson is a Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Dean of Cardiovascular Affairs at the University of California San Diego, where he has worked since 1989. The world’s longest-surviving heart, heart-lung, and double-lung transplant cases are his patients.

Born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Jamieson attended college and medical school at the University of London. After completing general surgery and two years of cardiothoracic training in England, he left for the U.S. He received a fellowship to study at Stanford University in 1978, where he trained and then worked with Dr. Norman Shumway, regarded as the father of heart transplant surgery.

Jamieson is the author of more than 500 scientific papers, including the original descriptions of techniques for both heart-lung and double-lung transplantation, and the first use of cyclosporine in heart transplantation.

He was named one of the “Giants of Cardiothoracic Surgery” by the Cardiothoracic Network, a “Living Legend” by the World Society of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, and received the Pioneer Award from the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Jamieson is also a cattle rancher, commercial helicopter pilot, and collects and studies ancient medical manuscripts and antique watches.

Praise for Close to the Sun

“A literary spellbinder that has important implications in geopolitics as well as medical science.” – Thomas Starzl, physician and researcher, who performed the first successful liver transplant

“Superb …To those of us senior surgeons who witnessed or participated in that golden era, it is priceless.” – Denton Cooley, heart surgeon, founder of the Texas Heart Institute, famous for performing the first implantation of a total artificial heart

“Stuart Jamieson has written a page-turner.” – Peter Fielding, Professor of Clinical Surgery and Healthcare Consultant

“Stuart Jamieson’s life experiences from early childhood to the present have taken me through the gamut of emotions. His roots are in Africa, but his fruition is an All-American story.” – Leonard Bailey, Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and of Pediatrics at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

“A fascinating account of a life full of challenges and achievements, both in cardiac surgery and heart transplantation” – Sir Terence English, Past President Royal College of Surgeons of England

A well-told story by a man of great accomplishment who is clearly proud—and rightly so.” – Kirkus 

“… every reader interested in the history behind one of medicine’s riskiest procedures will find it fascinating.” – BOOKLIST

Comments : 4 thoughts on “Close to the Sun: The Journey of a Pioneer Heart Surgeon”

  1. Do you know how long I’ve been looking for this article since I first found it 😢, please include a search tool on the website so I don’t have to go through 22 pages to find an article.
    Very informative article by the way. Advancements in medicine should be posted more. Thanks 😊

  2. Do you know how long I’ve been looking for this article since I first found it 😢, please include a search tool on the website so I don’t have to go through 22 pages to find an article.
    Very informative article by the way. Advancements in medicine should be posted more. Thanks 😊

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