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Ampersand The Six (Toronto)

The Heartbeat of Innovation
A History of Cardiac Surgery at the Toronto General Hospital
By (author): Edward Shorter By (author): Hugh E. Scully By (author): Bernard S. Goldman
Edward Shorter , Hugh E. Scully , Bernard S. Goldman


University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division



Product Form:



Higher Education
Aug 15, 2021
$45.00 CAD


9.2in x 6.2 x 1.5 in | 800 gr

Page Count:

448 pages


34 colour images, 17 halftones
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
MEDICAL / History

This book tells the behind-the-scenes story of the development of cardiovascular surgery at the Toronto General Hospital – now rated as one of the best hospitals in the world.

Great innovations take place within great institutions. Founded in 1819, Toronto General Hospital (TGH) is one of Canada’s oldest hospitals and has created a nurturing environment for early Canadian innovations in heart surgery. The Heartbeat of Innovation tells the story of the brilliant surgeons who worked there and the hospital environment that provided an incubator to the many people – skilled perfusionists, dedicated nurses, and pioneering cardiologists – who participated in the revolution in heart surgery that took place along University Avenue in Toronto.

Supported by historical records, hospital archives, personal memoirs, and interviews, this book is an extensive and descriptive account of the seemingly inexorable development of cardiac surgery at this leading academic health science centre. It pursues several themes: the complexity of this surgical specialty, its generally male-dominated nature, the trend to teamwork in practice, and the evolution and incorporation of original research into this branch of healthcare. These strands are woven together to demonstrate how the TGH has evolved into such a dominant leader in the competitive and demanding field of cardiac surgery. Canadian hearts may beat with pride at the knowledge that one of the major stories in modern medicine took place here – and continues here.

  • Draws on archival documents, personal collections, innumerable historical publications, and current literature
  • Includes interviews with contemporary surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, heart-lung pump technicians, administrators, and donors and philanthropists
  • Teaches the importance of imagination, creativity, discipline, determination, patience, hard work, and resilience in the face of disappointment or failure 

Edward Shorter is Jason A. Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine and a professor of psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

A social historian of medicine and clinical science, Professor Shorter has published widely in this field, including histories of obstetrics and gynaecology (Women’s Bodies), the doctor-patient relationship (Doctors and Their Patients), psychosomatic illness (From Paralysis to Fatigue), and sexuality (Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire). He is also the author of Partnership for Excellence: Medicine at the University of Toronto and Academic Hospitals (2013), which traces the evolution of Toronto’s academic health science network.

Since 1991 Shorter’s primary appointment has been in the Faculty of Medicine, where he holds the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine. Since then he has emerged as an internationally recognized historian of psychiatry and the author of numerous books on the evolution of the discipline, including A History of Psychiatry (1997); Before Prozac (2009); and How Everyone Became Depressed (2013). In 1996 he was cross-appointed as a Professor of Psychiatry. His latest book, The Madness of Fear: A History of Catatonia (2018), co-written with Dr. Max Fink, provides an accurate understanding of the symptoms and treatments for an illness that has long been hidden under other diagnoses.


Bernard S. Goldman is a professor emeritus of Cardiac Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a heart surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Hugh E. Scully was Chief of Staff and Deputy Surgeon-in-Chief at the Toronto General Hospital, Professor of Surgery and Health Policy at the University of Toronto, Past President of the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association (all physicians in Canada) and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (all heart specialists in Canada). 

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"The contributions of the Toronto General Hospital program toward the global development of the field of cardiac surgery are historic and in several ways unsurpassed. This is a riveting book, masterfully crafted by doctors Shorter, Scully, and Goldman. Canada had and continues to have a huge international impact in cardiac surgery, and the innovative work at the Toronto General Hospital has been central to this positive role."

- Marc Ruel, Professor and Chair of Cardiac Surgery, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and President, Canadian Cardiovascular Society

"A fun read! This book offers insider perspectives of Toronto General Hospital’s heart surgery giants – how they literally ‘walked’ and ‘talked’ – from individuals who worked alongside many of them. Exposed are the surgical personalities and tensions – rarely shared beyond inner circles – revealing the ‘sharp elbows’ and ‘bitterness’ that pervaded the environment at times."

- Shelley McKellar, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Western University

"It was my great fortune to train with these outstanding University of Toronto cardiac surgeons more than forty years ago. I was inspired by their commitment to scholarship, innovation, and technical excellence in pursuit of the highest standard in patient care. Like many academic cardiothoracic surgeons around the world, I was grateful to receive valuable mentorship and sponsorship from this pre-eminent group of cardiac surgeons."

- G. Alexander Patterson, M.D, Joseph C. Bancroft Professor of Surgery, Washington University, and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

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