Second Suns

Second Suns

Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.
From the co-author of Three Cups of Tea comes the inspiring story of two very different doctors—one from the United States, the other from Nepal—united in a common mission: to rid the world of preventable blindness.

In this transporting book, David Oliver Relin shines a light on the work of Geoffrey Tabin and Sanduk Ruit, gifted ophthalmologists who have dedicated their lives to restoring sight to some of the world’s most isolated, impoverished people through the Himalayan Cataract Project, an organization they founded in 1995. Tabin was the high-achieving bad boy of Harvard Medical School, an accomplished mountain climber and adrenaline junkie as brilliant as he was unconventional. Ruit grew up in a remote Nepalese village, where he became intimately acquainted with the human costs of inadequate access to health care. Together they found their life’s calling: tending to the afflicted people of the Himalayas, a vast mountainous region with an alarmingly high incidence of cataract blindness.

Second Suns takes us from improvised plywood operating tables in villages without electricity or plumbing to state-of-the-art surgical centers at major American universities where these two driven men are restoring sight—and hope—to patients from around the world. With their revolutionary, inexpensive style of surgery, Tabin and Ruit have been able to cure tens of thousands—all for about twenty dollars per operation. David Oliver Relin brings the doctors’ work to vivid life through poignant portraits of patients helped by the surgery, from old men who cannot walk treacherous mountain trails unaided to cataract-stricken children who have not seen their mothers’ faces for years. With the dexterity of a master storyteller, Relin shows the profound emotional and practical impact that these operations have had on patients’ lives.

Second Suns is the moving, unforgettable story of how two men with a shared dream are changing the world, one pair of eyes at a time.

Praise for Second Suns

“As miracles go, it’s hard to beat making the blind see. Yet that’s exactly what the eye surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Tabin can do. He services poor people in the developing world who have developed cataracts—a clouding of the lens of the eye that is the world’s leading cause of blindness. . . . Second Suns is a hopeful work, a profile of two doctors who have dedicated their lives to bringing light to those in darkness.”Time

“A compelling and inspiring book . . . Second Suns portrays heroic health care delivered under harrowing conditions: Ruit and his teams carry their equipment on multi-day treks up steep mountain trails, sometimes hiking at night with flashlights or head lamps, to reach settlements where they typically spend several days operating on hundreds of villagers in makeshift surgical theaters.”The Washington Post

Second Suns should be required reading for anybody with an interest in humanitarian philanthropy—or, for that matter, a desire to feel a little better about the world.”Outside

“A detailed, heartfelt account of the work of [two] dedicated pioneers.”Kirkus Reviews

Baker & Taylor
"Documents the inspiring story of a partnership between an American and Nepali doctor to provide eyesight-saving treatments to tens of thousands of patients throughout the world, from cataract-stricken children and blind laborer to elderly patients who live near dangerous mountain trails. By the co-author of Three Cups of Tea."

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400069255
1400069254
Characteristics: x, 415 p., [16] p.of plates : ill. ; 25 cm

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Irene99
Dec 16, 2013

Stunning work. Inspirational story of how two doctors were able to realize their dream of bringing sight to many of the world's impoverished people, for whom sight was life - for themselves as well as for their caregivers (if they had them). How did two people from very different backgrounds and corners of the world make it happen? How did they counter pressure from their own profession, colleagues, seniors? David Oliver Relin tells the tale in a very personal, meaningful way. We hear the same thoughtful, lyrical voice he used when co-authoring Three Cups of Tea, about the mission to bring schools to the same mountainous regions. So many lines speak to the heart as well as the mind. We learn intimately about the lives, customs and spiritual traditions of some of the people in the locations where Drs. Ruit and Tabin concentrated their efforts ... and spread them out as well by training others and creating their own intra-ocular lens manufacturing centre.

I was deeply saddened to learn that the author died at age 49, by taking his own life. He gave us so much in his short time here, and for that I am very thankful.

hgeng63 Oct 15, 2013

Yes, both the doctors & their quest to restore the eyesight & lives of poor people are worthy, but the bk itself is too long. The author seems to be in love with the sound of his own voice.

m
mprimom
Jul 20, 2013

Moving, unforgettable story of how two men with a share dream are changing the world, one pair of eyes at a time, has many as 82 a day..., a great book - learned a lot from it, well written. I loved and recommended it.

s
savtadina
Jul 11, 2013

I was fascinated and humbled to read the story of Drs. Sanduk Ruit and Geoffrey Tabin and how they have directly and indirectly already been involved in saving the eyesight of over 2,000,000 people in third world countries. I was especially impressed by Dr. Ruit, who was born in a tiny village high in the Himalayas and was sent to India for schooling. I had never heard of their efforts before I heard of this book, and I think that their efforts should become more widely known so that they can multiply their efforts.

The book is somewhat choppily written...a lot of the book is devoted to Tabin, his path to becoming a doctor and his involvement with Ruit, than about Ruit and the development by Ruit of a super-fast way of removing cataracts (well under 10 minutes for the whole operation) and the expansion of the program. I would have liked to know more about both of those, but I think that it was probably harder to get Ruit to take time to talk to the author. I strongly recommend that others read this book to hear of the amazing efforts of the NGO the Himalayan Cataract Project. It has expanded to other countries, including Ethiopia, and surgeons have also gone to other parts of Africa, China, and North Korea, all places where with a simple surgery to remove cataracts (in children as well as adults) blindness can be eliminated in many cases.

I was saddened to learn about the death of the author.

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