By David Magnus & Danton Char Pages: 1-2
It’s fitting that the ethical challenges raised in this, our Valentine’s Day issue, resonate in a mythic love story. Eos, titan of the dawn, fell in love with a mortal man, Tithonus. Because she could not bear to lose him, she pleaded with Zeus to grant him immortal life but forgot to ask for immortal youth, so he withered, unable to die but too fragile to live. Like Eos, our two target articles suggest that the current application of two heroic cardiac interventions, the widespread use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the implantation of ventricular assist devices (VAD) in patients with end-stage heart failure, may reflect a medical ethos too enamored of preserving life without giving enough mindfulness to the burden on patients and families of survivorship in a debilitated or devastated state. How do we appropriately prolong life and health, while guarding against making Eos’ mistake?
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