Chapter 1: Babe Ruth’s Cancer
His voice became progressively hoarse, and he experienced severe pain behind his left eye. He wrote in his autobiography (The Babe Ruth Story, published in 1948) that his “voice sounded like somebody gargling ashes.”
Because hoarseness heralded the onset of Ruth’s disease and plagued him throughout his illness, his doctors assumed he had cancer of the larynx (voicebox). This diagnosis was reinforced when Ruth admitted to using tobacco and drinking alcohol since he was a child. He once told a reporter, “I learned early to drink beer, wine, whiskey, and I think I was about five when I first chewed tobacco.” As an adult, he was an inveterate cigar smoker.
An autopsy revealed that he did not have cancer of the larynx.
Chapter 2: There had to be a Better Way
A natural athlete, John Bonica took up wrestling, winning the New York City middleweight intercollegiate championship at the age of 17. Two years later, as a sophomore at Long Island University, he won the middleweight regional intercollegiate championship. After this bout, the nation’s foremost wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon, Sr., convinced John to become a WWWF professional wrestler.............
The experience caused Dr. Bonica to think there had to be a better way. It was this personal event that inspired him to initiate a campaign within the medical profession to improve obstetric pain relief and anesthesia during childbirth.
Chapter 4: The Deadly Dentist
“He was not a drunkard. He always had a bottle of whiskey but never drank habitually. When he needed a drink, he would only take a small one.” Could a person be inebriated on a regular basis if he was also alert enough to count cards and have enough manual dexterity to gamble professionally, use a gun and knife with accuracy, and ride a horse?
Chapter 6: Snakebite
He was cool, calm and collected, and I sensed he had considerable experience with snakebite victims. Without any prompting on my part, he gave me a detailed rundown on the patient, probably sensing this city boy’s apprehension and abject ignorance about the proper treatment for snakebites. He informed me the patient had no sensation between his great (first) toe and second toe, suggesting the man had an “anterior compartment syndrome” of the left leg.
Chapter 13: The Father of Bone Marrow Transplantation
The upper age limit at most centers is 50 to 55 years for an allogeneic transplant (related or unrelated) and 60 to 65 years for an autologous transplant. The decisions to place age limits on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been driven by higher complications and death in older age groups. This is attributed to their reduced ability to withstand high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes irradiation) needed before the transplant, higher risk of short- and long-term complications of therapy and having other major health problems such as serious heart, lung, liver or kidney disease. The older transplant recipients also suffer acute and chronic graft versus host disease more frequently than their younger counterparts.