Dr. Jessiza Nutik Zitter

Health Affairs 

Our aging population is at risk from a most benign-appearing source—the medical technologies we trust to keep us healthy.

When they were first widely used in the 1930s and 1940s, breathing machines did what humans could never have imagined a generation earlier: They kept young polio victims alive until their bodies cleared the virus that had temporarily weakened their respiratory system. Thanks to these miraculous machines, tens of thousands of these patients recovered and went home to live out the rest of their lives. This bold new use of medical technology riveted the world and set the stage for a new era in medicine, in which an overriding faith in the curative powers of technology prevailed. Over the next several decades, doctors assumed that everyone wanted and deserved access to these treatments. The breathing machine, or mechanical ventilator, was the first of many life-prolonging technologies to come. Now, there are machines to substitute for a wide range of physiological functions, including the pumping of the heart and the oxygenation of the blood.

Ideally, life-support technology should serve as a bridge to recovery (…) Read Full Article Here


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