One Miracle, Many Doubts

A feat of heart surgery sharpens the debate over benefits and costs

The dying heart was an I ugly yellowish color when Dr. William DeVries finally cut it loose, tore it out of the Mercurochrome-stained chest cavity, and put it to one side. For the next three hours, while a nearby heart-lung bypass machine kept the unconscious patient alive—and while a tape in the background eerily played Mendelssohn and Vivaldi—DeVries' sure hands carefully stitched into place a grapefruit-size gadget made of aluminum and polyurethane. At 12:50 p.m. last Monday, the Jarvik-7 artificial heart newly sewn inside William J....

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