The Minnesota Invention That Rescued a Boy With a Hole in His Heart

In 1955, Two Researchers Created the Heart-Lung Machine That Would Save Millions of Children’s Lives

Stephen Joseph Brabeck was born in 1950 with a hole in his heart. To survive into adolescence would have been considered exceptionally fortunate at the time.

But Brabeck was lucky; in 1955 he underwent experimental open-heart surgery—made possible by a new heart-lung bypass machine that kept him alive during the procedure. The operation succeeded, and Brabeck lived a long and productive life as a cardiologist. When he passed away in 2018 at his home in Carmel Valley, California, Brabeck was one of the last survivors of a small group of …

How Cesarean Births Became a ‘Global Epidemic’

Reliance on New Obstetric Technology and Lawsuit-Averse Doctors Made Traditional Birth Seem More Risky Than C-Sections

Almost one in three births in the United States today is by cesarean section—a dramatic change from a century ago when physicians avoided the surgery whenever possible. Doctors remained so …

The Women Who Built Mayo Clinic

After a Tornado Wrecked a Minnesota Town, Franciscan Nuns and Physicians, Anesthesiologists and Social Workers Helped Create a Pathbreaking Medical Center

Several years ago, a few colleagues and I discovered a well-kept secret about Mayo Clinic, where we all worked.

We had decided to create a Jeopardy game for Women’s History Month …

When Baltimore Medical Students Were Free to Rob the City’s Graves

In 19th-Century Maryland, Stealing Corpses Wasn't a Crime. And a Half-Dozen Medical Schools Needed Cadavers.

Railroads changed everything. The formation in 1828 of the nation’s first common carrier, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, revolutionized transportation, altered people’s sense of time and place, and knitted America …

How an Oahu Doctor Struggles to Care for His Micronesian Patients

Fleeing Rising Sea Levels and Burdened With Health Problems, Hawai‘i's Newest Migrants Now Face ‘Bigotry and Backlash’

With its multitude of ethnicities, cultures, and languages, Hawaiʻi might appear at first glance to be a post-racial society. The predicament of Micronesians in Hawai‘i, however, gives the lie to …

The Chinese-Born Doctor Who Brought Tofu to America

Yamei Kin Was a Scientific Prodigy Who Promoted the Chinese Art of Living to U.S. Audiences

On a hot summer day in 1918, syndicated reporter Sarah McDougal paid a visit to an unusual laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Chemistry, a predecessor to …