February 4th, 2015


Work with Meaning and Impact (Tough Act to Follow)

My father helped invent and develop the life-support systems (cardiopulmonary bypass, or heart-lung machines) that are used for open-heart surgery and transplantation.

In the locker room at the gym tonight, I overheard a woman recounting the experience of having a loved one wait for and eventually receive a heart transplant. Felt so much pride and joy as I realized the fears she remembered and related to her friend had only to do with wondering if he would get a donor heart, and if his body would reject it. NOT about whether he might die on the table during a surgery where his heart was stopped and removed from his chest.

I remember so clearly how dad extended his engineering education to include hydraulics and hematology as well as specific material chemistry in order to reduce the damage to the blood caused by mechanical pumping and oxygenation to within acceptable limits. He also learned how to do 3D modeling on the computer and rapid prototyping with a programmable milling machine in step with developing technology. He attended surgery and interviewed surgeons and perfusionists to improve the design of the whole system and interface. His experience convinced me that the best career is one in which you are constantly learning and challenging yourself.

Talk about work you put your heart into. So proud of you, Dad.