Medicine: Shocked to Life

Usually, when a surgeon gives emergency massage to a stopped heart, he soon knows where he stands: either the heart picks up and beats strongly, or it fails to. The case of Darline Timke, 21, a student nurse who became a patient at Chicago's Presbyterian Hospital, was different. After more than 100 minutes of massaging by four doctors working in relays, her heart still refused to settle down to a steady pumping beat. Instead, the muscles, manipulated through an incision in the upper abdomen, fluttered spasmodically and at cross purposes—an effect known as "fibrillation."

What was needed, obviously, was a "defibrillator." Until...

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