Monday, January 22, 2007

Inventing Ott: The Legacy of Arthur C. Guyton

Inventing Ott: The Legacy of Arthur C. Guyton is about the life of a modern-day Renaissance man. Arthur C. Guyton, also known as Ott, was born on September 8, 1919 in Oxford, Mississippi. He would not only become a successful doctor and professor but also a sailor, radio expert, tennis player, pilot, inventor, carpenter, appliance repairman, electrician, husband, and father of ten children. In 1946, Ott caught paralytic polio which led him to invent the power wheelchair, the “walking” leg brace, and a type of hoist for humans. While teaching and doing research in physiology at the University of Mississippi’s University Medical Center, Ott discovered that kidneys control long-term blood pressure. He then discovered the true relationship between the blood, veins, heart, and kidneys. The more complex form of this discovery is known as the Theory of Infinite Gains. This theory led many people to consider Ott to be the Father of Modern Cardiovascular Physiology. In 1956, he first wrote the Textbook of Medical Physiology. It is the best-selling medical textbook of all time. His teaching methods were so popular that his students called themselves “Guytonians”. All of his ten children became doctors. August 25, 1989 was named “Arthur C. Guyton Day” by the United States Congress. Ott died in a car accident on April 3, 2003.

I use a modern power wheelchair and modern “walking” leg braces. I found learning about their inventor to be fascinating and educational. This book showed me how difficult it is for a person to be a medical resident. The author, Jerusha Bosarge, did not explain many of Ott’s inventions and scientific discoveries in much detail. For example, it would have been interesting to understand more about the instrument used to remove gases and liquids from the gastrointestinal tract during surgery. The author puts Arthur C. Guyton on a pedestal. Jerusha Bosarge keeps mentioning that Ott was a soldier; while he worked as a researcher and surgeon for the military in the United States, he never was a common soldier. Other than these few small errors, the book was very educational and wonderful.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 8
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois United States of America