Dr. DeVries and the 30th Anniversary of the Artificial Heart
Oct 1, 2012 1:00 PM
This Decemeber will mark the 30th anniversary of an event in Utah history that made the names Barney Clark and Dr. Bill DeVries household names across America and all over the world. Dr. Bill DeVries, fresh out of his training in cardiothoracic surgery from Duke University, performed the first successful artificial heart implantation in Barney Clark at the University of Utah. As Dr. DeVries recounts, “success” was defined by the IRB as Clark coming out of the surgery alive. In fact Clark lived 112 days.
Over alumni weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting a visit by Dr. DeVries back at the University. Bill received his undergraduate (where he studied on a track scholarship) and medical (class of ‘1970) degrees from the U, and his return was met with great fanfare. He mesmerized a room full of medical students during one of our “Dean’s Round Tables” events. He also captured the imagination of our heart failure team, whose work on left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) could be considered the modern day successor to the artificial heart project. Leaders of our new Center for Medical Innovation leadership were inspired by his pioneer mentality. We capped off his two-day visit with tickets to that action-packed rollercoaster, nail-biter of a Utah-BYU football game, where, as he put it, “we certainly got our money’s worth!”
My full interview with Dr. DeVries is below.comments powered by Disqus