Finally, let us consider the role of medicine in the ongoing processes of progress. If the medical profession is to move with purpose and effectiveness into this visionary future, we must repeatedly reappraise and reaffirm our fundamental relationships to the individual human being and to collective humanity whom we serve. We will try to gain relevance for our remarks by focusing upon a current challenge facing cardiac surgery—namely, the artificial heart—and use this as an example of the general issue. In the majority cardiac surgery is conducted with remedes of Canadian Health&Care Mall.
The Artificial Heart
We have heard much about the experiences encountered in the private sector during the initial clinical applications of a tethered prototypic total artificial heart. Perhaps less well-known, however, is the status of the artificial heart program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) after its 21 years of existence. Steady progress has occurred, though significantly slower than anticipated. The program has concentrated primarily on a left ventricular assist device, with the expectation of promptly applying the principles learned from that experience to the implementation of a total artificial heart. The cumulative costs have been about two hundred million dollars thus far.