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Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  326 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Dr. Kathy Magliato is one of fewer than a dozen female heart surgeons practicing in the world today. She is also a member of an even more exclusive group—those surgeons who perform heart transplants. Healing Hearts is the story of the making of a surgeon who also calls herself a wife and mother. Dr. Magliato takes us into her highly demanding, physically intense, male-domi ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 19th 2010 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2010)
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Mar 31, 2011 Mie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been working in the same departments as described in this memoir. I do remember what a balancing act it was for these cardio-vascular surgions and nurses as well. It was huge when we saved life and we were quiet and respectful often sad with tears in our eyes when we lost one. I think some of the describtions and the language used are a little over-dramatic.
Jan 28, 2010 Andres rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical
I love reading anything medical, and "medical memoirs" from doctors are especially fun to read. This one is no exception, and right away you get a real sense of the no-nonsense, straightforward, yet fun and lively personality of the author/doctor. Dr. Magliato is the "female heart surgeon" of the subtitle and she honestly lays out the facts of her life, of her profession (I can't believe it can be so sexist!), and of the drive and hard work that is necessary to even consider such a complex and d ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, fascinating book! I loved how the book was written. I learned so much, but the material is presented in a very down-to-earth manner. It is the story of how the author came to be one of the few/rare female heart surgeons in the world. She tells of her story of success, but a success fraught with challenges, many of which related to her gender, a rarity in this field. She had much to overcome in addition to the obvious academic challenges. Her ability to endure, even embrace, the physical str ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-boods-read
I would recommend this book to anyone--- and especially women-- interested in learning about heart disease, women breaking through barriers, or stories of real people living and working. It met all three for me, and was an eye opener about women and heart disease. I fell in love with this heart surgeon and her passion for women's health. I picked it up at the library to listen to (and fortunately could listen constantly while doing a 6 hr drive), but will order a hard copy of my own. It is an am ...more
Natalia Nayyar
Feb 17, 2014 Natalia Nayyar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book full of sarcastic, dark , twisted humor. Not to forget to mention there are loads of interesting and fascinating facts and information! I would add that this book could be a guide for girls who want to be surgeons and how to survive in a shark like men dominated field of cardio ! Since now, Dr Kathy Magliato is a kind of superwoman for me and My dream is to become as good and strong surgeon like her . Wish me good luck people! :)
Alveera EVHS Khan
Jan 06, 2015 Alveera EVHS Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very inspiring and interesting book. It summed up the experiences that the renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Kathy Magliato, has to go through, both physical and emotional. I really enjoyed reading it because I am very interested in medicine, and it taught me that there is an extremely difficult journey to becoming a doctor, one filled with gender stereotypes and long, hard hours interning. Yet despite this difficult journey, the reward of giving people a second chance at life is defin ...more
Jul 08, 2011 Su rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book about what it takes to become a female cardio thoracic surgeon along with some neat stats about heart disease in females today. The figures on how many women are afflicted with heart disease were depressing however informative. I like the way she presents the information and even makes the medical stuff easy to understand for people who are not from a medical background.

However I really dislike the way she turns herself into a constant super hero. The truth is that he
Georgia Herod
Sep 10, 2013 Georgia Herod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magliato goes back to her earliest desire to become a surgeon and then tells the great obstacles and difficulties that she encountered in that pursuit. That she completes every demand, even when her physical energy and stamina are pushed to the limit—and when emotionally she is spent, reveals her internal fortitude and her persistent perseverance. Simultaneously she also focuses on women’s health issues—and stresses the significance of women “knowing their numbers” and paying attention to their ...more
Dec 10, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, medical
Her story and struggle was interesting... however, this book just re-enforced the fact that a lot of what she does I do not want done to me. None of that CPR and open heart massage... I might agree to some of the other stuff she does depending on my age but I am not very excited about a lot of the procedures she does.
Jul 15, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Part I
I think that this woman thinks she is a better writer than she actually is. I've never seen so many cliches (literally) gathered in the pages of one book before! The topic is interesting - she is one of the few female heart transplant surgeons in the world. That's why I'm sticking it out. However, I can't believe user reviews on Amazon give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. For someone who is a surgeon, she wrote this book with a very heavy hand.

Part II
I finished the book and ended up liking it but
Very good....I know more about the heart than I ever
thought I would.

I really like her tough sensibility and strong determination.

Good for a young woman who has ambition and desire to be in a male dominated field
like heart surgery.

Nov 22, 2015 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-medicine
This book needed a much better editing job. It's disjointed, and the author comes across as a smug, self-congratulatory operating-room cowboy. Oh wait, she's a heart surgeon...comes with the territory. But still.
This is the most arrogant writer I've ever experienced. Way too into herself to actually appreciate the amazing work she does. It's a shame because this could have been written so well...
Apr 16, 2015 Noralyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderful. Informative, Interesting and well written. I'm a nurse and followed the medical information. I'd advise women to read it.
Men will also find it a good read.
Mary Adams
A string of Readers Digest "Drama in the ER/OR" stories interspersed with a lecture about heart disease in women, a rant against insurance companies, and several super-mom anecdotes.
A nice read on the life of an interesting person. I liked the way Magliato integrated experiences of her youth and personal life with her professional experiences. I learned a few things about heart disease and surgery that are just not available from many people. While some parts did seem to me like "filler" late in the book (drama in the elevator ride to the morgue), there was an insightful chapter late in the book on her MBA persuit including her outlook on the future of heart surgery. Overal ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if i had to have heart surgery, i would want dr. magliato to do it.

women please pay attention to the following:

more women than men die of heart disease every year. our symptoms are different. half of all women do not get chest pain. most common symptoms women report are:
*left-arm pain
*jaw pain
*neck/throat pain
*shortness of breath

also know your numbers for good heart health.

blood pressure <120/80 mmHg
total cholesterol <200 mg/dl
good cholesterol (
Steven Tomcavage
It wasn't until I finished this book and was discussing it with my wife that I realized that the author never discussed times when she failed. There were plenty of surgical mishaps in the book, but they always seemed to happen to other doctors. Her patients, if they died, died from things like pulmonary embolisms that wouldn't have been found in heart surgery. Still, it was an interesting read about the challenges of balancing family with a career as demanding of your time as heart transplant su ...more
Barbara Maponga-chirombe
I would recommend this book to all nurses and all women who want to understand cardiovascular disease. It's a good read.
Feb 08, 2012 Becca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I admit that I didn't totally finish the last two chapters of this book. While it was interesting to see the medical dramas in real life, I really struggled to get into the book. I liked that she addressed cliches and the difference between what insurance companies are billed and what the hospitals actually make. It was interesting to see that perspective. However, I felt the whole thing dragged on longer than it needed to, with each chapter being choppy and disconnected from the ones before and ...more
Max Knickerbocker
Feb 06, 2015 Max Knickerbocker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Very very interesting! I am a nurse and I absolutely loooove medical memoirs! I learned so much for Dr. Magliato. Her details of heart surgery were phenomenal. I was so amazed to learn how extremely rare women heart surgeons are! I never would have imagined. I don't really understand why the ratio of men to women is so extreme. If you enjoy medical books, you'll love this one!
Jan 16, 2013 Saba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last few chapters weren't as exciting as I had expected them to be, but the book was still very interesting. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it! It's also one of the best medical reads I have read so far! :) however, I must earn you, the author is very arrogant, she self advertises a lot, and she also never mentions any of her own actual failures (especially in surgery). Also, she gloats a lot too. Still, the book was worth it. And after all, I believe she has earned the ...more
Feb 20, 2010 Nette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'd want a heart surgeon who was self-confident, even arrogant, but reading a book by this heart surgeon was a chore. "I didn't just survive the transplant service in Michigan, I blossomed from it. Intense, smart, focused, I returned to Ohio ready to take on the remaining years of my surgical residency." Gloat much? Although it contains some interesting info on women's heart health, the rest is a combination of self-promotion and bad motivational speaker-ese.
Jul 25, 2010 Kdevoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written memoir about what it takes to become a female heart surgeon, including her grueling internship where she once had been awake for so long she stood in a daze in the hospital corridor and wondered to herself, "Does a person have one heart and two lungs, or two hearts and one lung?" Whoa! Apparently heart surgery is still predominantly a man's domain, and the author is candid in describing her many challenges as she pursues her chosen field.
Feb 26, 2010 Sherrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting memoir of a woman in the highly competitive, prohibitively male-dominated field of cardiac surgery. The author conveys her love for cardiac surgery, as well as her struggle to retain a traditional family life as a wife and mother. She places special emphasis on women's heart health. Enlightening and encouraging, this memoir is particularly recommended for female professionals juggling a career and a family.
Jul 15, 2012 Lucas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came across my desk at work, and suddenly I found myself unable to put it down. That was surprising for many reasons, mainly because I have zero interest in the subject matter and a ton of other things to read. Even though Magliato isn't the best of writers, the text has a certain immediacy that really draws you into the life of a female heart surgeon. Some of the lingo will be familiar if you watch Grey's Anatomy. :)
Harry Lane
Kathy Magliato is one of a handful of female heart surgeons. Her book tells how she got to that, her experiences along the way and tries to convey something of what it means to practice in the field. Her writing is clear and straightforward; she uses technical terms but is careful to explain them. While she doesn't make a big thing of it, the difficulties she encountered because of her gender are quite plain. Worth reading.
Heidi Larson
Feb 20, 2011 Heidi Larson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
this book had me at hello. i mean, how many authors write start their books by describing the moment they held a beating heart in their hand? it's not a book for everyone, but it was a great book for me. (although, i fast forwarded through the chapter about billing and such. i know it's a reality of the world of a doctor, but that reality isn't very interesting, so i skipped it.) thank you, kathy magliato.
Sep 22, 2011 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, nurses, doctors
Quick,easy read and I became quickly engrossed in it. I did enjoy it a lot however there were a couple of times throughout the book that I felt the author was "tooting her own horn" a bit too much- but what do I know? I have much respect for any woman who has accomplished what she has and shattered the glass ceiling of the male-dominated world of surgery. Dr. Magliato proves that women "can have it all".
Sep 26, 2012 Shana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magliato is no writer, but she certainly touches on a lot of fascinating topics in her autobiographical book. As one of the few female heart surgeons in existence, she provides a little seen view into what life is like for someone in her position. She touches on issues like sexism in the medical world, balancing home and work lives, women’s heart health advocacy, and much more.
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“Sometimes we must yield control to others and accept our vulnerability so we can be healed.” 41 likes
“I think that is the very definition of a family: a group of individuals, bound by the essence of love, who share a life together and yet maintain their unique individuality.” 15 likes
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