Paul Sudhir Arul Kalanithi (April 1, 1977 – March 9, 2015) was an Indian-American neurosurgeon and writer. His book When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir about his life and illness battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It was posthumously published by Random House in January 2016. It was on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller list for multiple weeks.
Early life and education
Paul Kalanithi was born on April 1, 1977 and lived in Westchester, New York. He was born to a Christian family hailing from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, India. Kalanithi had two brothers, Jeevan and Suman; Jeevan is a computer/robotics engineer and Suman is a neurologist. The family moved from Bronxville, New York to Kingman, Arizona when Kalanithi was 10. Kalanithi attended Kingman High School, where he graduated as valedictorian.
Kalanithi attended Stanford University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology in 2000. After Stanford, he attended the University of Cambridge, where he studied at Darwin College and graduated with a Master of Arts in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine. Although he initially considered pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature, Kalanithi then attended the Yale School of Medicine, where he graduated in 2007 cum laude, winning the Dr. Louis H. Nahum Prize for his research on Tourette’s syndrome. He was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society.
At Yale, Kalanithi met Lucy Goddard, who would become his future wife.
After graduating from medical school, Kalanithi returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurosurgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Kalanithi was married to Lucy (née Goddard), with whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth Acadia ("Cady"). Lucy is an internist at Stanford University School of Medicine's Clinical Excellence Research Center and wrote the epilogue to When Breath Becomes Air.
Although Kalanithi was raised in a devout Christian family, he turned away from the faith in his teens and twenties in favour of other ideas. However, he retained "the central values of Christianity — sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness" and returned to Christianity later in his life. In his book, he even states that if he had been more religious in his youth, he would have become a pastor.
- "How Long Have I Got Left?" for The New York Times
- "Before I go: Time warps for a young surgeon with metastatic lung cancer" for Stanford Medicine Magazine
- "My last day as a surgeon" for The New Yorker
- "Terra Incognita: Remembering Sherwin Nuland" for The Paris Review
Only first-authored articles are listed below
- Kalanithi, P. S.; Arrigo, R. T.; Tran, P; Gephart, M. H.; Shuer, L; Fisher, R; Boakye, M (2014). "Rehospitalization and emergency department use rates before and after vagus nerve stimulation for epilepsy: Use of state databases to provide longitudinal data across multiple clinical settings". Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. 17 (1): 60–4, discussion 64–5. doi:10.1111/ner.12051. PMID 23551457.
- Kalanithi, P. S.; Henderson, J. M. (2012). "Emerging Horizons in Neuromodulation – New Frontiers in Brain and Spine Stimulation". International review of neurobiology. International Review of Neurobiology. 107: 185–205. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-404706-8.00010-3. ISBN 9780124047068. PMID 23206683.
- Kalanithi, P. A.; Arrigo, R; Boakye, M (2012). "Morbid obesity increases cost and complication rates in spinal arthrodesis". Spine. 37 (11): 982–8. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e31823bbeef. PMID 22037526.
- Kalanithi, P; Schubert, R. D.; Lad, S. P.; Harris, O. A.; Boakye, M (2011). "Hospital costs, incidence, and inhospital mortality rates of traumatic subdural hematoma in the United States". Journal of Neurosurgery. 115 (5): 1013–8. doi:10.3171/2011.6.JNS101989. PMID 21819196.
- Kalanithi PS, Patil CG, Boakye M (2009). "National complication rates and disposition after posterior lumbar fusion for acquired spondylolisthesis". Spine. 34 (18): 1963–9. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ae2243. PMID 19652635.
- Kalanithi, P. S.; Zheng, W; Kataoka, Y; Difiglia, M; Grantz, H; Saper, C. B.; Schwartz, M. L.; Leckman, J. F.; Vaccarino, F. M. (2005). "Altered parvalbumin-positive neuron distribution in basal ganglia of individuals with Tourette syndrome". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 102 (37): 13307–12. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10213307K. doi:10.1073/pnas.0502624102. PMC 1201574. PMID 16131542. father. name.
- Maslin, Janet. "Review: In 'When Breath Becomes Air,' Dr. Paul Kalanithi Confronts an Early Death". New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Print and E-book Nonfiction". New York Times. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Steele, Kim. "Obituary: Paul Kalanithi". Daily Miner. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- Spector, Rosanne (11 March 2015). "Paul Kalanithi, writer and neurosurgeron, dies at 37". Stanford Medicine News. Stanford University School of Medicine.
- Kalanithi, Paul (27 May 2016). "Paul Kalanithi: Why I gave up on atheism". Fox News. Fox News Network.
- Reisz, Matthew. "Paul Kalanithi, 1977-2015". Times Higher education. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Kalanithi, Paul. "My Last Day as a Surgeon". New Yorker. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- O'Kelly, Lisa (14 February 2016). "Lucy Kalanithi: "Paul's view was that life wasn't about avoiding suffering"". The Guardian. The Guardian.
- Smith, Duncan (25 April 2018). "Lucy Kalanithi: Work, life, grief, love". BMJ: k1220. doi:10.1136/bmj.k1220.
- Kalanithi, Lucy (6 January 2016). "My Marriage Didn't End When I Became a Widow". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
- Stanford University School of Medicine. "Lucy Kalanithi". Stanford University School of Medicine.
- Kalanithi, Paul (2014-01-24). "How Long Have I Got Left?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
- Kalanithi, Paul. "Before I Go". Stanford Medicine Magazine. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-11). "My Last Day as a Surgeon". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- Kalanithi, Paul. "Remembering Sherwin B. Nuland, the author of How We Die". www.theparisreview.org. Retrieved 2016-12-27.