By Ayesha Nathoo (auth.)

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Extra info for Hearts Exposed: Transplants and the Media in 1960s Britain

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127 The aspirations of the artificial heart makers also reached British newspapers in the mid-1960s, even though most of the research was confined to the United States. 130 By mid-1965, the medical correspondent of The Times was explaining to readers, in an article on ‘New hearts for old’, the possibilities ‘held out by the modern Aladdins of medical research’. Although to the layman the artificial heart ‘may seem fantastic’ and ‘must sound almost incredible’, the artificial heart was no longer a ‘figment of the scientific imagination’: ‘Looked at objectively .

All the professional medical bodies were concerned with maintaining 36 Hearts Exposed the dignity, honour and interests of the profession and regarded advertising as particularly objectionable. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, doctors were increasingly discouraged from associating with the popular press. In 1873 the Royal College of Surgeons considered advertising medical works in the ‘nonmedical press’ not to be ‘conducive to the honour or dignity of the medical profession’.

The idea of therapeutic heart transplantation was becoming more widespread amongst specialists. The heart was one of the last organs to be subjected to the scalpel, and operations almost necessarily dealt with matters of life and death. Thus, post-war cardiac surgery epitomized the image and attitude of the heroic surgeon and developed at an impressive pace. 76 Time carried another leading article on surgery in 1963, featuring the Boston surgeon Francis Moore on the front page. 20 Hearts Exposed The associated 11-page article celebrated surgical advance since the war and stated that currently ‘surgeons are virtually unanimous in believing that the most exciting and promising new area now being opened to them is the field of transplantation’.

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