Medicine: A Bold Gamble in Tucson

Doctors try an unproven artificial heart, but the patient dies

It was well before dawn last Wednesday when Dr. Jack Copeland, the leading heart surgeon at Tucson's University Medical Center, had to face the grim truth: his patient was dying. Thomas Creighton, a 33-year-old Arizona auto mechanic, had undergone transplant surgery 24 hours earlier to replace a heart , ravaged by two heart attacks and cardiomyopathy, a progressive disease of the heart muscle. Right from the start there were problems with the transplanted organ, and a pacemaker had to be used. Then Creighton's body began rejecting the heart. At 3 a.m. he went into cardiac arrest.

As doctors struggled to keep...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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