Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD


October 30, 2013

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Hello. This is Dr. Sam Goldhaber from the Clotblog at, speaking to you from the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam. Today I am going to review a book that is very meaningful to me personally and professionally. It is a book about my mentor, Dr. Eugene Braunwald, titled Eugene Braunwald and the Rise of Modern Medicine.[1] It is written by my good friend and colleague, Dr. Tom Lee, and the book is personally inscribed by both Dr. Lee and Dr. Braunwald. Eugene Braunwald is a father of modern cardiology, but to me personally he is a mentor, a friend, and a guiding light. He is a skilled clinician, researcher, educator, editor, and teacher.

This book was written in collaboration with Dr. Braunwald. Dr. Lee would go to Dr. Braunwald's house every few weeks and interview him for several hours over a period of several years to capture different periods of Dr. Braunwald's career. The story starts in childhood when he and his family just barely were able to escape Hitler in Vienna. They escaped from Austria through Switzerland and then to London, and they eventually moved from England to New York. The story reads as a fascinating personal biography of Dr. Braunwald, how he became interested in clinical medicine and clinical research and how he had a wonderful knack for being in the right place at the right time during his training, at the National Institutes of Health, and then as the Chair of Medicine at the newly formed University of California San Diego Medical School. In 1972, he became Chair of Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, which became Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The story is very well written. There are lots of footnotes and documentation along the way. Many of my friends and colleagues are included in the biography, so it is especially meaningful to me. On a personal note, I can say that the year Dr. Braunwald arrived in Boston at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, he also immediately undertook teaching responsibilities in the cardiovascular pathophysiology course at Harvard Medical School where I was a first-year student, and he was assigned to be one of my section leaders along with Ed Sonnenblick. I still remember him going from first-year student to first-year student. We each had microscopes and we were looking under the oil immersion high-powered actin and myosin, and he made sure our slides were in focus and that we understood what we were looking at. He is very devoted to education.

The biography is filled with wonderful anecdotes. I recommend this biography to anyone who is interested in how modern medicine has evolved, and who is interested in the story of what a tremendous positive influence a single individual can make in life. Enjoy the book. This is Dr. Sam Goldhaber, signing off for the Clotblog.


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