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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > July 2017 > Are surgeons psychopaths?

Are surgeons psychopaths?

Even if they are that might not be a bad thing, says Joanna Bourke
© CSA IMAGES/PRINTSTOCK COLLECTION

The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations by Thomas Morris (Bodley Head, £20)

Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99)

Stephanie and Goobers were born seven months apart. Goobers was a healthy female but Stephanie suffered from hypoplastic left-heart syndrome—in other words, the left-hand side of her heart was underdeveloped. Two weeks after Stephanie’s birth, at the Loma Linda Medical Centre in California in October 1984, Goobers was killed on her behalf. Goobers’s walnut-sized heart was excised and sewn into Stephanie’s chest. The twist is that although Stephanie was a human baby, Goobers was a baboon.

For three weeks, Stephanie’s simian heartbeat kept her alive. The Times even reported that the five-pound baby was “sucking strongly, crying lustily and as cute as a button.” Then, as a result of the drugs and progressive graft necrosis, Stephanie’s kidneys and heart failed.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s July issue: Steve Richards, Rachel Sylvester and Shiv Malik—as well as Chris Hanretty and Julian Glover—cover the fallout from the recent general election. Richards looks at how the assumptions of centrist politics were upended and how Labour managed to stun the nation—a point that Chris Hanretty explores in more detail, explaining how Corbyn turned the tide for social democracy. Sylvester questions how Theresa May managed to squander her majority—Julian Glover says it wasn’t just May’s failure, the ideas were flawed, too. Shiv Malik explores the remarkable surge in the youth vote and says parties can no longer ignore their concerns. Also in this issue: Dexter Dias argues that to understand terrorism we need to better understand human nature, Paul Wallace looks at the state of the state and asks whether the government is capable of fulfilling large scale changes to the way the state works and Sam Tanenhaus profiles Mike Pence—should we be worried about him becoming the next president?
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