Flatline - Can you live without a pulse? How two bold doctors successfully replaced a dying man’s heart with a ‘beatless’ device - Jeremiah Zagar. The heartbeat is synonymous with human life, but could we possibly live without one? Flatline tells the extraordinary story of Dr Bud Frazier and Dr Billy Cohn of the Texas Heart Institute, who in March of 2011 performed a continuous-flow artificial heart transplant to extend the life of a dying man. In doing so, they proved that it was possible for a person to live without a pulse. However, their aim was not merely academic; they believe their device will transform the treatment of heart disease. Directed by the US filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar, this short documentary explores how some advances in medical science and technology brush up against the limits of what we view as possible, making us reconsider what it means to be human. Will our definition of ‘physical health’ be drastically different in 100 years? Join the conversation at Aeon Ideas. For more on medical science, read Brooke Borel’s essay ‘I’d Rather Be Dissected’, on our societal aversion to whole-body organ donation, and Jeff Wheelwright’s essay ‘Risky Medicine’, on the pitfalls of overtreatment.
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
Producer: Jeremy Yaches