• The Gist: Could loss of emotions, or other “lack of wholeness” issues in mechanical organ transplants become a cause of action?
Peter Houghton has a problem with his Jarvik 2000 artificial heart that was unexpected: he has lost all his emotions, The Washington Post has reported.
Houghton has had the heart since the year 2000, one of only 40 people to have ever received one. Many of the recipients have died, which makes a comparative study nearly impossible.
Houghton has been in great physical health in the last seven years, but says he has become “more cold-hearted” and “less sympathetic.” He laments that he cannot bond with his twin 8-year-old grandsons despite his efforts otherwise.
Experts are largely stumped as to the cause of Houghton’s leanings toward being a misanthrope. Possible causes range from the device itself, medications, his age, depression or unknown post-surgical trauma.
The Post article alludes to possible actual physiological causes: A real heart may produce heretofore unknown hormones, or the brain has evolved to receive blood from rhythmic bursts and not from steady pressure.
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