A Disheartening Revelation

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This article was featured in the January/February issue of Fusion Magazine. Look for a follow-up article in an upcoming issue.

“In college, I wanted to be an architect,” says balding, greasy pitchman Dr. Robert Jarvik in his latest commercial for the cholesterol drug Lipitor. “But after my father had a heart attack, I devoted my life to studying the heart.”

“Good for you,” I thought to myself as I picked up the remote. But before I could change the channel, the serious voice-over guy came on with 11 little words that changed my life: “Dr. Robert Jarvik is the inventor of the ‘Jarvik Artificial Heart.’”

Excuse me? An artificial heart? Why had I never heard of that before? How much did it cost? How quickly could I get one? I had so many questions.

Like most Americans, my doctor has become increasingly concerned about my health as I’ve aged. My weight, blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol numbers have all climbed into dangerous territory, and terms like “your blood has a syrup-like consistency,” and “there’s only room for the first three digits” are now tossed around regularly during my doctor visits. No matter what I try (except exercise; that actually seems to work) every lab report is bleaker than the last.

But now, thanks to Dr. Jarvik, I have been given a new lease on life. After my artificial heart replacement surgery, I would never again worry about trivial things like diet, exercise, or blood consistency. I went to bed that night secure in the notion that not only would I be eternal (so long as I kept changing the batteries) but that I’d also enjoy a 50-pack of chocolate Munchkins in the morning with absolutely no regret. I slept well.

The next day, I got right to work on Google. As the search results loaded into my browser, I was overcome with an eerie sense that I was about to see my own immortality displayed right there on the screen. I got goose bumps just thinking about it.

Then it happened.

I had clicked on an MSNBC article that looked promising, but as the page loaded slowly onto my screen my mouth opened wide with disbelief and munchkin crumbs flew everywhere.

“Despite past failures, Dr. Robert Jarvik succeeds hawking statin drug Lipitor.”

Past failures? What failures?

I’ll save you the suspense: Jarvick’s “artificial heart” is a fraud. After graduating from Syracuse, the good doctor couldn’t find a U.S. medical school to admit him. So he went to Italy (which, as everyone knows, is famous for their medical breakthroughs). He only stayed there for two years.

After returning to the U.S., Jarvik eventually got a degree in medical engineering from NYU and then a medical degree in Utah years later. He never practiced medicine, however, and he only became famous after using someone else’s patent to develop the “Jarvik 7” artificial heart. In 1982 that device was implanted into a dentist. He survived 112 mostly painful days.

Later, after more deaths, the New York Times called the Jarvik 7, “the Dracula of medical technology” and declared that “the crude machines, with their noisy pumps, simply wore out the human body and spirit.”

I’m no medical engineer, but that doesn’t sound like a glowing review.

Jarvik’s “new and improved” device is called the Jarvik 2000, which sounds like something out of a bad science fiction movie, and probably is. It’s still in clinical trials, but initial reports don’t seem to indicate that mass numbers of humans will be undergoing full heart replacements anytime soon.

Call me crazy, but I always thought that the whole point of making something artificial is because it’s better than the original. Artificial sweeteners; no calories. Artificial tanning; no burns. Artificial breasts—well, you get the point. But that memo apparently never made it to Dr. Jarvik. But there is one thing that I do know: thanks to Jarvik’s incompetence my visions of eternal life have now been replaced with visions of vegetables, sit-ups, tread mills, and, ironically enough, Lipitor.

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 799,995 (up from 735,135 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 38,735 (up from 34,807 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 169,995 (up from 155,950 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization
  • US has 164,359 Confirmed Cases and 3,173 Deaths, up from 142,746 cases and 2,489 deaths Yesterday
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 63,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 11,591 officially dead)
  • US has 3,173 Dead vs 5,507 Recovered and 3,512 in Critical Condition
  • The US Currently has 155,679 Active Cases of COVID-19, with less than 0.6% of the total US population tested
  • 15% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
The Moment of Trump's Conversion: Dr Anthony Fauci Takes Full Responsibility https://dailycaller.com/2020/03/30/anthony-fauci-moment-donald-trump-realized-extend-social-distancing-mandate/
  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the coronavirus task force, explained on CNN that Trump listened and "got it right away" after being shown new data projecting as many as 3 Million deaths in the US if COVID-19 mitigation policies were lifted.
  • Fauci also said Trump's "first goal is to prevent suffering and death" and this was part of the reason why he knew the COVID-19 guidelines should be extended.
  • "You know, interestingly, we showed him the data, he looked at the data and he got it right away, it was a pretty clear picture," according to Fauci.
  • "Dr. Debbie Birx and I went in together and leaned over his desk and said 'Here is the data, take a look.'
  • Trump reportedly looked at them, understood the implications and he shook his head and said 'I guess we got to do it.'
  • "Medically, this is the right decision, and I stand behind it 100%," Fauci said.
  • "From a public health standpoint, we felt strongly that it would have been the wrong decision to pull back," Fauci said. "I mean, we are scientists, physicians, public health officials. We're not economists. We're sensitive to the idea that the economy could suffer, but weigh that against tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of American lives."
  • "...it was patently obvious looking at the data that at the end of the day if we try to push back prematurely, not only would we lose lives, but it probably would hurt the economy as well. So you would lose on double accounts. So, to us, there was no question what the right choice was."
Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland Join States Issuing House Arrest Orders https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/30/coronavirus-violators-of-marylands-stay-at-home-order-face-criminal-charges.html
  • Maryland and Virginia became the latest states on Monday to enact "stay-at-home" mandates amid the coronavirus outbreak, except for essential travel for work.
  • Virginia's order is in effect until June 10, making it one of the longest statewide mandates implemented so far.
  • Maryland's penalties for violating its order are among some of the strictest in the country, including a $1000 fine, and up to 30 days jail time for repeat offenders.
  • In total, more than 210 Million Americans now effectively live under some form of House Arrest or Shelter In Place type orders, with another, 50 Million facing travel or shopping/eating restrictions.
  • Only 6 states have not closed schools.