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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, In Fighting For Air, award-winning pediatrician Ola Didrik Saugstad shares details of his career and discoveries in medical care for newborn infants.
By 2010, 4-7 million newborn babies, at birth, each year required resuscitation due to oxygen deficiency, and, tragically, of those, one million babies had died. This discovery drove internationally renowned, award-winning pediatrician, neonatologist and researcher Ola Didrik Saugstad to fight for newborn babies by changing the practice of using pure oxygen to save the youngest and weakest among us.
Fighting For Air
In Fighting For Air, Saugstad shares the 30 years of struggles and triumphs he faced in his career, and the resistance he fought against with determination, to become one of the most sought-after experts in the field of neonatology. Based on his research that it was detrimental to newborns, Saugstad fought to change the protocol in place that meant newborn infants were resuscitated with ordinary air instead of pure oxygen.
Despite rejection, stolen ideas and many uphill battles, Saugstad’s method of testing oxygen deficiency in newborn babies led to perhaps his biggest discovery, is now the guiding principle in hospitals throughout the world, and the mortality rate among newborn babies suffering from oxygen deficiency at birth has been reduced by 30% worldwide, with a range of 200,000-300,000 lives saved every year. He found that the higher the presence of oxygen, the more oxygen radicals are formed, therefore causing greater damage. His research on hypoxanthine and free radicals has also contributed to the reduction of incubator blindness stemming from oxidative stress, a result of pure oxygen treatment in infants.
Set against the background of Saugstad’s upbringing, family life and faith, Fighting for Air tracks the factors that influenced him and his firm resolve to improve the field of neonatology.
Figthing For Air examines the uncommonly personal perspective on how faith, politics and medical truths intersect and beliefs that Saugstad holds and how they impacted his work. With a humble perspective and steadfast devotion to helping others which he credits to his Christian faith he has made it his life’s mission to protect not only the youngest and most vulnerable but to travel the world to save every life he can.
“What the outside world saw as personal ambition was something far more profound. It was a force over which I myself had no control, a power to push on and on,” explained Ola Didrik Saugstad. “I had been given one of life’s greatest and most challenging gifts: passion—zeal. Passion is a terrific force that changes lives—a gift and a responsibility handed to the few. It took many years before I realized that not everyone was like me. I had felt this passion ever since I was a little boy, whether as a soccer player, a high school pupil or as a medical student. I experienced the same when I attempted to come to the defense of those I viewed as debilitated. It was passion that saved me when I was under attack, and it was passion that kept me going whenever I encountered resistance.”
Science And Medicine
Fighting for Air inherently and effortlessly interprets the scientific into the comprehensible, reaching both the medical professional and the layperson. His profound knowledge of the world of medicine and the application of scientific research places him in an esteemed league like no other.
With a steadfast moral backdrop, Saugstad also introduces the scientific processes used that led him in radical new directions few in his field pursue due to the sensitive nature of medical care for newborn infants. He is a firm believer that the uncritical use of oxygen for 200 years in the resuscitation of newborns is one of the greatest scandals in medicine, fueling many unnecessary tragedies.
Ola Didrik Saugstad
Norwegian pediatrician and neonatologist Ola Didrik Saugstad, MD, PhD, is internationally recognized for his research on resuscitation of newborn children. From 1991-2018, he was Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oslo and Director of the Department of Pediatric Research at the National Hospital. He has traveled all over the world giving lectures about newborn resuscitation and health and has been given numerous international and national awards, such as the Landmark Award by American Academy of Pediatrics (Perinatal section).
Saugstad was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology for his research and is an appointed honorary member of a number of national associations and an honorary doctor and professor at international institutions. In addition to his engagement for the smallest among us, Saugstad has been involved in the debate about Biotechnology and Chronic Fatigue syndrome.
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Publisher: Waterside Productions
Available from Amazon.com
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