Temp hearts are patients’ lifesavers

“It was the most bizarre, intense thing in my entire life.”

The last thing William Somers remembers before passing out from a massive heart attack was the ambulance ride to the hospital.

When he woke up, Somers was astonished to learn doctors at Loyola University Medical Center had removed his heart and replaced it with an artificial one.

The CardioWest artificial heart kept Somers alive for three weeks while he waited for a transplant of a real heart.

I remember seeing the first patient that received an artificial heart. His comments were something to the effect that the feeling was rather strange, because he couldn’t feel his heart beat.

In the tension between machine and man, I think this is a wonderful development for science. It does strike at the question as to whether or not we are entering (in a rather official manner that strikes at our sensibilites) an age where cybernetics becomes routine.

If you think about it, that’s precisely what we have here – cybernetics at work. Ethically, this has profound implications that I find very interesting.

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