Medicine: One-Fortieth of a Kidney

Every business day but one, Ben A. gets into his car in a Seattle suburb and drives clear across the city to the sporting-goods store where he is a clerk. He puts in a normal workday, then drives home to his wife and two small children. What sets Ben A., 24, apart from millions of other Americans who drive daily to and from such jobs is that he spends Wednesdays—a full 24 hours—in University Hospital, hooked up to an artificial kidney. Without that Wednesday stint on the machine, he would be dead, probably before the month is out.

Tubes in the Arms....

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