Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Robert Jarvik, the medical scientist best known for revolutionizing the artificial heart, hopes to change that. He recently delivered a keynote address to members of the American Medical Association.
“We have all been affected by heart disease," Dr. Jarvik boldly assumed of his colleagues “...and today I’m calling for an increase in the size and speed of the average human heart.”
The audience, filled with board certified internists and surgeons, broke out into an uproar. “Dr. Jarvik, what do you have to say to those that suffer fast heart rates?” The NYU educated medical engineer and physician boldly responded, holding back tears, “Make them faster. Make them bigger”
Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States, still had some questions: “How about those with congenital anomalies that cause them to have massive hearts as it is?” Dr. Jarvik thought about this question for approximately five minutes and forty seconds. With the entire room in absolute silence, he fired back “Make them bigger. Make them faster.” The audience shot up with a standing ovation, as they were clearly all on board.
Afterward, a model heart was lowered from the ceiling that measured approximately the same size as Dr. Jarvik’s thorax. “Now this my friends, this is the goal.”
When asked about his inspiration for this cavalier approach to cardiology, Jarvik remarked “In my 71 years on this earth, the one constant has been ‘bigger is better.’ I’ve seen this in every industry from engineering and economics to biologic science. The other day I purchased a Mercedes-Benz G Class which is larger and faster than any other car I’ve driven. I thought ‘if Mercedes can do that for a car, I can do that for the human heart."
by David Crosby // @thewizardofcros