The Serendipitous Life of Edward Diethrich

Regarded as a pioneer in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, Dr. Edward Diethrich, founder of the Arizona Heart Institute, reflects on his more than 50-year career in an autobiography filled with twists and turns while advising others that they can achieve anything they want if they persevere, regardless of the consequences.

This book highlights the life of Dr. Ted Diethrich, a visionary and a man of controversy. He has spent a lifetime dedicated to improving the practice of cardiovascular medicine. Mediocrity for him was never an option. He was a model student, musician, and athlete.

Medicine always piqued Ted Diethrich’s interest because of his mother’s experience as a nurse in Hillsdale, Michigan. Early in life, he was afforded the opportunity to learn about and help develop medical procedures that allowed him to pioneer treatments and technologies to fight heart disease. At the young age of 15, Ted Diethrich secured a job as an orderly (16 was the legal age at that time). He fibbed his way into the position and worked side by side with surgeons and even assisted in a vasectomy at the young age of 16. Those were the days.

During medical school and residency at the University of Michigan, Ted Diethrich conceived, designed, and tested many novel ideas to advance surgical techniques. His experimentation in his early 20s led to the development of the sternal saw, a game-changing tool still used in open heart surgery to this day.

Diethrich is a visionary, a man of controversy, and he knows it.Excerpt from Book: The Serendipitous Life of Edward Diethrich
After finishing his surgical residency, Ted Diethrich was accepted into the thoracic and cardiovascular residency program at the Baylor College of Medicine under one of the most famous surgeons in the world, Dr. Michael DeBakey. Dr. Diethrich describes much of his time there as a “brutal environment.” He was even beginning to question if he was cut out for this profession because of Dr. DeBakey’s unrelenting and unwarranted attacks on him. Dr. DeBakey would constantly berate Dr. Diethrich in front of his colleagues, questioning if he knew what he was doing and sending him to stand in the corner of the operating room. Yet through all this, Dr. Diethrich never spoke back or disrespected him. The harassment continued for many months, but it was all a test to see if Dr, Diethrich could stand the pressure. By his junior year of residency, Ted Diethrich was Dr. DeBakey’s junior associate.

Dr. Diethrich’s adventurous and controversial life took him to the cover of Life Magazine. He was one of the very first physicians to use advertising and promotion at a time when such practices were frowned upon. His trailblazing and forward thinking led to myriad medical innovations and advancements that are now standard practice in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease.