Episode 6- Dr WILLIAM MUSTARD
Dr. Mustard received his medical diploma for the University of Toronto in 1937. His presence in the Canadian Forces earned him the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
His medical profession began as a surgeon at the Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in 1947. He was then known as an innovative surgeon.
Early in the 1950s, the heart surgery problem is exposed: to fix the heart, it must be put to rest, in other words, stopped. This action causes death, because the blood stops circulating and this is essential for the organs to function and to live.
In 1951, he presents the concept that “open-heart” surgery is possible without stopping the circulation. This problem is resolved using a pump beside the patient that acts as a “bypass” between the heart and the lungs.
Its fixture includes a pump, plastic tubes, a proven oxygenation system and 4 lungs from monkeys. These 4 lungs are cleaned and prepared adequately and placed side by side.
The mechanics resemble the following: the blood leaves the patients body through the tubes that are compressed by the circular pump. This pump compress the tubing that takes the under-oxygenated blood, pushes it in the lungs of the monkeys, then returns the oxygenated blood to the patient.
The first patient aged of barely one and half years old had heart surgery to close a gap between the two ventricles, known as interventricular communication. The patient died during the operation.
The second patient was brought in for the same problem. He passed away in the recovery room no more than two hours after the surgery.
Encouraged by this “progress”, he persevered on 10 more patients who all succumbed.
This procedure was then abandoned. The hypothesis explaining these bad results came from two sources:
· The patient’s blood interacted with the monkey’s lung and a reaction followed;
· It is impossible to balance the blood leaving the patient’s body and the blood re-entering it, causing drops in blood pressure or liquid surcharges.
On December 11, 1987, Dr Mustard died from a myocardial heart attack at the age of 73. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 1995.