Reviews (Page 1 of 12)

I just sat down and read your book that you were kind enough to send to me. I found it moving and compelling. The science is accurate and the personal reflections of your physical and psychic experiences are beautifully written. I was particularly struck by your poem and art renderings of your frightening, lonely and painful experiences. I will reference your work and use some of your quotes and art when I lecture medical students on the human toll of sepsis. It reminds us all why we went into medicine in the first place-to relieve human suffering. I want to thank you for putting down in prose and art what many septic patients feel, but few can ever share so eloquently with others.
Beautiful, I loved it.

S. Opal, MD
Professor of Medicine
Infectious Disease Service
Brown Medical School
Chair, International Sepsis Forum


I just completed your book and enjoyed it immensely. It was however difficult at times to realize what my daughter, Erin, experienced in her last moments.
I was taken by your vivid descriptions and your depth of medical knowledge you shared. I would recommend it to both survivors, so they understand why they may still be suffering and the general public, so they understand this terrible syndrome.
It is obvious you spent considerable time researching the history, progress and current work being done on sepsis!
Congratulations on what I consider required reading for anyone working with, victim of, or a candidate to get sepsis! Your book will help many many people!!

Dr. Carl Flatley, DDS, MSD
Sepsis Alliance, Founder, Chairman


I received your book and I read it over the weekend. It is a compelling story! Your artwork is wonderful. Thanks for sending me the copy.

Dr. Mitchell P. Fink, MD

Reviews (Page 2 of 12)

This morning with the mail I received your book. Impressive! Thanks for sending me this. I will certainly use it in my lectures to medical students and in my work for ESPNIC.

Pediatric Intensivist & CMIO Erasmus MC
The Netherlands


“To get home was heaven, to recover was hell” [sic]. I don’t have the book in front of me right now, but I remember a version of this and other powerful observations as particularly poignant.

I found it really enlightening, well-written and reflective. In turn, it made me reflect- on a 'minor' note, on the effect which seemingly mundane day-to-day factors such as neighbours' televisions and repetitive questioning to establish cognition and recall can have on our patients' experiences, and in particular on the chasm which exists between the rehabilitation care which you received and that available in the resource-poor NHS. While our acute care measures up well, the ongoing care is sadly lacking.

I have decided to share your book with my CEO and Clinical Directors by asking them to read Chapter 5. I hope that it will pave the way, not for a full rehab programme as this is not achievable, but at least to the preparation of a business case to formalize patients' exposure to physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychotherapy/ counselling.

Dr. Ron Daniels
Chair, UK Sepsis Group
Program Director, Survive Sepsis

Reviews (Page 3 of 12)

Dear Gary,

SepsEast was indeed a great success. On the conference opening ceremony I took the liberty to show your book, your photo, and quote your description on the horror of severe sepsis. Thank you for that.

I read your book. It is very touching and a very important work to demonstrate the audience how severe sepsis can be survived. It depends on us doctors, but also on our patients physical and psychological reserves. The latter has to be reinforced by us, family and friends. The pain what you have described is also very important. We are often unaware of, or underestimate the general pain what our patients have to go through even though they didn't have any surgical intervention.

Best wishes,


Prof. Dr. Zsolt Molnár, MD, PhD, DEAA
Head of Department
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy
Faculty of Medicine
University of Szeged
6. Semmelweis st., 6725 Szeged, Hungary
Tel: +36 62 545 168, Fax: +35 52 545 169


Gyroscope is a unique and exceptional resource for patients who have survived sepsis and their families. I have been a critical care nurse for 45 years and seen so many suffer from this devastating disease. Although it kills millions worldwide each year, few people have even heard of sepsis. This is a well written firsthand account of one patient's experience from the time the symptoms of sepsis started through the rocky road of recovery months after he was sent home. His ability to capture and express the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects create a heart wrenching read. His artistic talents are used to create several drawings that graphically depict elements of his story. They add to the impact. I wish everyone who has had sepsis and their families were able to read Gyroscope. It would help them understand their own experiences.

Maurene A Harvey RN MPH MCCM,
Past President of The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)

Reviews (Page 4 of 12)

Gyroscope is a wonderful blend of personal experiences woven with factual scientific data that can be used to inform the lay public and healthcare professionals alike. Gary Black has selflessly exposed the naked, raw, painful truth of his journey through recovery from a near death experience with sepsis in this remarkable and unique book. Gyroscope is easy to read, though steeped in the emotional trauma of what it is like to live through sepsis. His story reveals the horrors people face when their mind is clouded with the delusion of infection. Gyroscope further describes in minute and fascinating detail all of the complex convoluted issues that affect every body system for years to follow such a harrowing experience. One special aspect of this project is that Gary, a talented artist, has included within this text self-portraits depicting his moods, emotions, reactions and thoughts during the hospitalization and post-discharge recovery period. We thank Gary for providing us with his testimony; a helpful insight into the lives of those who have suffered from sepsis and critical illness.

Judy E. Davidson DNP RN FCCM
Clinical Nurse Specialist


Dear Gary,

I just finished reading your book. As I mentioned before, the most striking thing to me was how you were able, with your family's and God's help, to not only get through your experience but to also grow from it. You had a remarkable journey, and your dogged persistence in courageously collecting and assembling information is truly inspiring. I agree with you that writing your book and doing the artwork has been an important part of your impressive recovery. You describe your experiences and appreciation very well, and you also educate about the nature of sepsis. This is an important piece of work.
Regarding the figures, I'd love to have these: #'s 1, 7, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 28, 30, 32, 33, 37, 40, 42, 46, 47, and 50.

Many thanks!

Joe B. O. Joseph Bienvenu, MD, PhD Associate Professor,
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
600 N. Wolfe St. - Meyer 115 Baltimore, MD, 21287

Reviews (Page 5 of 12)

I've known Gary Black for more than 20 years, as a former student of mine in the Education program at Kent State University and as a gifted artist whose paintings have been proudly and prominently displayed in my home. His powerful memoir, Gyroscope, captures the devastating effects of a little known but traumatic illness called sepsis which brought Gary to the brink of death, the gates of Hell, and back. He writes his story with the same artistic skill that he brings to his paintings. The personal account of the effects of sepsis on his body, mind, and soul reads like a thrilling mystery novel. Once you start reading, you won't be able to put this book down! Gary paints a vivid and mesmerizing picture of his near-death, outof body experiences as well as his physical, psychological, and spiritual recovery. As compelling as his writing is, readers will take delight in the graphic novel-type artwork that accompanies Gary's struggles with-- and his triumph over-this often fatal illness. His drawings of his experiences with sepsis are masterful. This is the story of an illness that needs to be told-and there is no one better to tell it than Gary Black.

Richard T. Vacca, Professor Emeritus
Kent State University


From the onset of Sepsis through the rehabilitation process, Gary Black provides robust details about his experience with Sepsis and his encounter with the healthcare system. Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis chronicles the rapid impact of Sepsis physically, the evolving emotional response of the patient, and we get a glimpse into where a near-death experience can take you and your family. Incredibly, Gary has recall of all of the critical moments and artfully uses both text and images to capture the details of his experience and the emotions that have changed his life forever. This book provides critical information for anyone who cares about treating patients in general and who specifically seek to understand the full impact of this deadly disease. But more than that, this is a book for anyone who strives to gain a better understanding of the power of the human spirit.

John McDonough
T2 Biosystems Inc.
CEO & President

Reviews (Page 6 of 12)

There are similarities which give reason to compare and contrast the story in Dante's Inferno and the story in Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis.

In Dante's Inferno the same as in Gyroscope: A survival of Sepsis a man descends in to hell. In each story the two men witness indescribable horror and depravity. Each man recounts grotesque demons who brutalize and torture. The mindset of each man deteriorates to despair and confusion. In each story there seems to be no escape. There is no hope for either man.

This is where the similarity ends. Dante's Inferno is a contrived situation where the author envisions what he thinks hell might be. Author (artist) Gary Black relives what he found hell to be in his book and autobiography Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis.

Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis is a must read book for those who have been been initiated with the condition of sepsis as well as those who have no knowledge of sepsis. The pace of the book is fast and although supported by fact the book is written in non technical language.

Education Professional - High School English Teacher for 30 years


In Gyroscope, Gary Black provides an up-close and personal view into the horrible disease of sepsis. His descriptions and artwork convey the emotional and physical roller coaster of disease progression through onset, septic shock, and recovery. It is an inspiring story for those working to bringing therapies, diagnostics, and medical treatments to patients unfortunate enough to suffer from this deadly disease.

Tom Lowery, PhD
Vice President, Diagnostics Research & Development
T2 Biosystems
Reviews (Page 7 of 12)

Thank you so much for tell me about your book. I have brought it to all of the classes I teach regarding sepsis, mention it and pass it around in class. I just taught 40 RN to BSN students tonight and several of them were taking your information down. I find the pictures, especially the ones showing your perceptions of the health care staff particularly helpful because I always talk about Sepsis being a primary cause of delirium.

Thank you so much for letting me know about it. The book has helped round out my curriculum.

Sharon Hansen
Critical Care Educator, MultiCare Health System


New Sepsis Alliance Survey Reveals Four in 10 Adults Have Never Heard of Sepsis, One of the Deadliest Killers in the U.S., Sepsis awareness only grows as people share their stories. Gary's book "Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis" and his presentations that tell of his experience with the disease have done much to bring sepsis to not only the public's attention, but to the that of healthcare providers. To Sepsis Alliance, this makes him a Sepsis Hero. Gary received a Sepsis Heroes Award from Sespsis Alliance on September 12, 2013. I have a better understanding of my patients after reading Gyroscope.

Jim O'Brien, MD
Medical Advisor and Board Chair Sepsis Alliance


Enlightening and Wonderful
I read Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis and found it to be enlightening and wonderful. The images Gary drew and his experiences are remarkable and shed a light on the way that our patients see things. I am involved with our Sepsis program at our hospital and have asked for our library to purchase several of these books for our staff.

Rachel L. McCarrell REMT-P, RN, BSN Clinical Nurse Coordinator
Emergency Department, Florida Hospital Tampa

Reviews (Page 8 of 12)

A True Journal of Sepsis
Not having known this illness, nor heard the word "sepsis", until confronted with my father's journey with sepsis. I was mesmerized by Gary Black's testimony, "Gyroscope" A Survival of Sepsis. The entire book is composed in such a way that makes you feel truly connected to this man's journey in faith-near death, and out of body experiences. Very informative definitions and symptoms, fevers, chills and shaking, fear, fast heart beats, and delirium so many more given for this mysterious illness. Sepsis can occur from something as small as a paper cut. The Art Journal illustrations especially the: " In and out of the dark". I recall my father telling me and the hospital staff there were bounty hunters watching him all night long. That a small picture on the ICU wall was a picture of his business he owned. Thank You Gary & Nancy Black I heard of Gary's book from Dr. Jim O'Brien, and ordered mine though Amazon. I couldn't wait to read it, plus all the art work. Yes, sepsis is a daily struggle.

Julie Branscomb-Eastman , father is a Sepsis Survivor


A Wealth of Information
I have really been applying myself to reading this week. Wow! I can't believe the stats in Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis. What a wealth of information! I have learned so much. Gary's art work is amazing! It captures the emotions, and mental and physical condition, I imagine that he experienced, so well. Thank you, Gary for writing this great book.

Sue Ferrier, Sepsis Survivor, Canada

Reviews (Page 9 of 12)

Gyroscope a Godsend
I have contacted you to tell you what help your book, Gyroscope, A Survival of Sepsis has been to me. Well-meaning folks have been sending me books on near death experiences. But that was not what happened to me.
I entered the hospital 11-3-2013 with a perforated ulcer in my intestine that eventually led to my sepsis. It appeared that none of the doctors or nurses truly knew what I went through in those 7 days when I was in delirium, what I call, "My Alternate Universe." My surgeon did tell me I had only a 2% chance of living once I became lucid. The pictures you sketched at the back of the book, were exactly what I was seeing during those lost days--not trusting the medical folks, seeming as if someone was trying to drown me, watching the clock in my hospital room run backwards and forwards, and the God, the demons. When I finally awoke, I had no idea where I was or when I was placed there. 4 weeks in ICU, 6 weeks in rehab, and I finally learned to walk again and resume daily chores. But I am still tiring easily and trying to gain strength. I am lucky.
Anyway, thank you so much for writing this book. It has been a Godsend to know that others have survived this condition. And bless my surgeon and therapists and all who helped me during this unexpected turn in my life.

Pat Murphy retired teacher, Sepsis Survivor, Pennsylvania

This Book is a Life Saver.
I purchased this book right after it was released about 3 years ago. A very good read! Everything you need to know about Sepsis and also the strong testimony of an author who's been there and the importance of faith in surviving a deadly disease. Why should you read this? It was a life saver to me. I recently developed a urinary tract infection. It was causing some discomfort but since I had an appointment for my annual physical in 3 days, I wasn't too concerned at first. As the day progressed, Gary's story began running through my head and some of my symptoms were becoming very bad, very quickly. I made the decision to go to urgent care. Within an hour, my fever jumped from 100 to 103 and I began to have shakes and vomiting. I was immediately treated with IV antibiotics and testes revealed that my white cell count was "off the chart" Blood cultures revealed a positive Gram Negative and I was in the hospital for 3 days. I'm one of the lucky ones because I was treated early. This disease comes on strong and fast!
Read Gary's book! It may save your life!

Richard Mercereau, New York

Reviews (Page 10 of 12)

It brings a needed point of view from the aspect of our loved one.
This book is a must read for all. The details with words and art bring to light the suffering and terror that sepsis/septic shock has on the patient and family. I watched the agony my husband went through while being in septic shock while on life support for over a month. I wanted to know what he was going through, wanted to know every aspect of what he was experiencing. It was a disconnect not knowing. Although he was fully aware of his surroundings, he could not communicate in words what he was going through. I could only see in his eyes and movements the terror. He would thrash about as if being attacked and have panic episodes. It deeply hurt my soul that I could do nothing and knew nothing about what he was feeling. After he passed away with septic shock, I got a hold of Gary's book Gyroscope: A survival of Sepsis and then I knew of the extreme horror associated with this condition. I saw one of the pictures in the book that Gary drew and it immediately hit me....this is what my husband went through, this is what he experienced, what he saw. The words in this book speak for him and others who no longer can express the extreme terror associated with this condition. It tells of the experience from one who has been where he was. It brought a bit of needed closure. This deadly condition can attack anyone and awareness is the key. Gary's book brings to light the need for more research etc. into sepsis/septic shock and should be read by everyone. And for the family of those brings a needed point of view from the aspect of our loved one. I also highly recommend Gyroscope: A Survival of Sepsis to all medical staff. Those treating patients should know what is going on from the perspective of the patient. The more knowledge physicians and nurses have of this condition will enable them to treat patients, as a whole more accurately. Thank You Gary Black for your bravery and for giving a voice to those who no longer have one.

Angela Kerr, Florida

Reviews (Page 11 of 12)

Is a must-read for anyone who ends up in the hospital Intensive Care Unit.
Doctors and caregivers also can benefit from reading this well-produced volume to give them insights into what it is like to experience the ICU from the patient's perspective.
Black, backed by extensive research and his own personal experience, depicts in detail his survival of the sepsis which almost killed him. He honestly probes the causes and the impact of his illness, asking questions of himself as well as of his physicians and caregivers. It is testimony to Black's faith, determination, family and art that he survived miraculously.
While he was in the hospital, he suffered from delirium, increasingly common phenomenon that occurs in the ICU which for Black resulted in frightening hallucinations. Perhaps most moving are Black's drawings of these visions, which bring to mind the intensity of Van Gogh. A skilled artist, Black fearlessly delves into his nightmares, along with showing the sadness and depression that accompanied his hospital stay. In "Captured Again," he draws himself in a vat, with a crowd of devilish looking doctors and nurses, grinning fiendishly down at him." Following the course of his disease, as Black gets better, the torturous images are replaced by the positive signs of recovery as in, "Back on My Feet", in which he is moving on a walker with a nurse or therapist giving him an encouraging smile and a pat on the back. For readers who are recovering from serious illness, these drawings offer hope even as they document the difficult road to recovery. They are evidence of how Black's art became a part of his therapy to lift "the burden of illness from my soul," as he wrote.

Lavinia Edmunds, Writer

Gary's book is wonderful and thoroughly explains how it feels to have sepsis.
My husband died from sepsis within 24 hours in 2012. I'm coming up on 2 years. I remember at one time he got up and screamed at the top of his lungs, "Help me, somebody help me!" and in the medical records it states he told the Dr. and nurses he felt that he was going to blow up! The hospital missed it until he was in septic shock, Jeff without a spleen, couldn't fight hard enough! I am suing the hospital and I will spend my last breathe spreading awareness of this awful illness. So treatable, but so often missed! Gary's book is wonderful and thoroughly explains how it feels to have sepsis and the horrible struggle it is to fight it! I found a few parts amusing, both when he ate the chocolate cake and the description of the MRI machine. Also when he talked about the aliens. I feel better knowing what my husband endured before he passed away. The artwork is fabulous! Thank you, Gary for sharing sepsis from the inside out! God bless you!

Lisa Davis, Colorado

Reviews (Page 12 of 12)

A Personally Moving and Educational Account of Surviving Sepsis
The author has broken significant ground with "Gyroscope" from a literary, artistic, and medical standpoint. His perspective as a patient surviving sepsis and the numerous challenges to get back to where he was before this unforgiving condition grabbed hold of him is a relatable story and one that any person that has spent time in the ICU can understand. It is certainly apparent that this experience has stuck with him and his appreciation for the doctors, nurses, and staff that saved him is a true positive to his story. He escaped something awful and has been able to use the challenge to galvanize himself as a man, husband, father, and friend.
"Gyroscope" is an honest portrayal of what a patient experiences from start to finish and the changes that occur to one's outlook on everything. This is especially evident in his artwork which provides a graphic illustration and complements his story perfectly. The biggest change however is that he has become a crusader as a result of his experience against sepsis and it is certainly a timely transformation given the rise in cases of sepsis, an affliction that does not see age, social class, race, nothing. It does not stop. I highly recommend "Gyroscope" for the healthcare professional and layperson. It is written in a way that will resonate with either. Thanks to the author for writing such an educational and personal account, however painful it must have been to recount, the positive effect it will have on sepsis identification and survival cannot be understated.

Howard Hoover, Sepsis Survivor

I have read Gyroscope: Surviving Sepsis and it was extremely meaningful to me. I learned a great deal and I am more sensitive now to the recovery process for individuals who have survived sepsis. I have worked in an intensive care unit for many years and your book has changed the way I view sepsis and the recovery process. You were able to tell your compelling story as well as include a wealth of research. Thank you for including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech language pathology in your story. In addition, thank you for sharing your art journal. The artwork is both haunting and beautiful.

Sarah Borsh, OTR, OTD
Occupational therapist