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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!