Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care

Author David S. Jones, Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University, speaks about his book

Contemporary Authors in Bioethics:David S. Jones, PhD, MD
Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care

Still the leading cause of death worldwide, heart disease challenges researchers, clinicians, and patients alike. Each day, thousands of patients and their doctors make decisions about coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery. In Broken Hearts, David S. Jones sheds light on the nature and quality of those decisions. He describes the debates over what causes heart attacks and the efforts to understand such unforeseen complications of cardiac surgery as depression, mental fog, and stroke.

Why do doctors and patients overestimate the effectiveness and underestimate the dangers of medical interventions, especially when doing so may lead to the overuse of medical therapies? To answer this question, Jones explores the history of cardiology and cardiac surgery in the United States and probes the ambiguities and inconsistencies in medical decision making. Based on extensive reviews of medical literature and archives, this historical perspective on medical decision making and risk highlights personal, professional, and community outcomes.

About the Author:

David S. Jones, MD, PhD, completed an internship in pediatrics at Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He trained as a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, and worked fas a staff psychiatrist in the Psychiatric Emergency Service at Cambridge Hospital. He also taught as a lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he was awarded the 2010 Donald O'Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 2011, he joined the Harvard faculty full-time as the inaugural A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine, a joint position between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine.