Surgery: Death of a Patient

"The pump did what we thought it would do," said Surgeon Michael E. DeBakey. "The patient's heart was already showing improvement. With this important encouragement, we look forward to using the device again in the near future."

The pump in question was the plastic "half-heart" attached to the chest wall of Marcel L. DeRudder, 65, in Houston's Methodist Hospital (TIME, April 29). For more than 41 days, with never a falter after the first hour, it had done three-quarters of the work normally done by the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. What suddenly killed DeRudder last week...

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