Medicine: Part-Plastic Heart

Ever since a siege of rheumatic fever at eleven, Mary Dansereau had been facing the prospect of an early death. The mitral valve of her heart had become calcified. To maintain circulation, her damaged heart had to work harder, and it was slowly giving out. For four years she had been a semi-invalid, unable to do much for her two children, and so weak that she took an hour to make a bed.

Last December, over the objections of nervous relatives, Mary agreed to undergo a delicate operation. Doctors explained that the radical repair job they had in mind had been tried...

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