In early November, I did a whirlwind trip with business visits in Melbourne (Australia) and Bangalore (India). I obviously had a lot of time in the air, as my travel took me across the Pacific Ocean (LAX-MEL), the Indian Ocean (MEL-BLR) and over the Middle East/ Europe/ Atlantic Ocean (BLR-AUS). Before heading out, I looked at the pile of books on my desk to evaluate which one I was going to dive into. I picked Extreme Medicine, by Kevin Fong MD. It was a holiday gift from Pearl, our daughter.
I read a quarter of the book on each leg of my trip and finished it over Thanksgiving. Being a person that is interested in medicine and scientific innovation, I greatly enjoyed the varied subjects that the author covered. I specifically enjoyed how these built up to an area that the author is quite passionate about, i.e. medicine, the human body and space travel. All of which was put forward in the context of a story about specific people in history (chronologically), and the leaps the physicians took that changed the field of medicine. Some of the physicians experienced many failures along the way, as was detailed in the section about heart surgery exploration, and almost gave up hope. These stories are episodes in time, so each chapter/ section of the book is like a short story or non-fiction novella.
Obviously having an interest is medicine is a motivation for reading this book, but I think both history buffs and aerospace aficionados would enjoy reading about the medical innovations that have helped make traveling around the world mundane and space travel possible. I doubt in my life time that human travel to Mars will ever be for the masses, but I do hope that space exploration continues beyond our orbit.
In the meantime, I look forward to Dr. Fong’s next book and am thankful my daughter found this book.
PS: You can listen to an interview with Dr. Fong about his book on NPR and you can also follow him on twitter.