The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology
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McKellar profiles generations of researchers and devices as she traces the heart's development and clinical use. She situates the events of Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Denton Cooley's professional fall-out after the first artificial heart implant case in 1969, as well as the 1982-83 Jarvik-7 heart implant case of Barney Clark, within a larger historical trajectory. She explores how some individuals-like former US Vice President Dick Cheney-affected the public profile of this technology by choosing to be implanted with artificial hearts. Finally, she explains the varied physical experiences, both negative and positive, of numerous artificial heart recipients.
McKellar argues that desirability-rather than the feasibility or practicality of artificial hearts-drove the invention of the device. Technical challenges and unsettling clinical experiences produced an ambivalence toward its continued development by many researchers, clinicians, politicians, bioethicists, and the public. But the potential and promise of the artificial heart offset this ambivalence, influencing how success was characterized and by whom. Packed with larger-than-life characters-from dedicated and ardent scientists to feuding Texas surgeons and brave patients-this book is a fascinating case study that speaks to questions of expectations, limitations, and uncertainty in a high-technology medical world.
AbbreviationsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Multiple Approaches to Building Artificial Hearts2. Dispute and Disappointment3. Technology and Risk4. Media Spotlight5. Clinical and Commercial Rewards6. Securing a Place7. Artificial Hearts in the Twenty-First Century Notes Index
A comprehensive history of the development of artificial hearts in the United States.