First few Article Sentences
In 1979, I began working for a heart surgeon in Oregon who happened to have been the co-inventor of the first successful artificial heart valve - which he had implanted in a patient in 1959. Dr. Albert Starr was remarkable in many ways, but most important to me was his passionate belief in the continuous improvement of medical care. He believed that the state-of-the-art techniques he used in 1959 or 1979 would be regarded as antiquated or even foolish 20 or 50 years later. And he was committed to being among those who discovered the better way. So when he began implanting heart valves in 1959, and later performing bypass surgery, he committed himself to keeping track of every patient until he or she died, and of monitoring changes to their overall health and cardiac health every year. As a result, he built one of the world’s largest databases on patient outcomes from heart surgery, and was able to publish the first studies of the long-term effectiveness of different heart implants and surgical techniques. He subjected himself to rigorous, continuous measurement of his patients' outcomes because he wanted to learn what worked and what didn't, and because he cared about whether his treatments helped his patients to live longer and healthier lives.