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The Medicine Chest

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  • Dogs in the Heart of Cape Town

    The guided tour of the museum, which commemorates the first heart transplant performed by Chris Barnard in 1967, starts with a representation of the car accident that provided the heart for the transplant, through to the animal lab where Barnard conducted experiments with over 50 dogs to perfect the technique of heart transplantation. From there one can tour a model of Denise Darvall's bedroom and Christiaan Barnard's office before seeing a recreation of the surgery in the actual operating theaters where it occurred.
  • Canary

    Sentinel species are used to detect risks to humans by providing advance warning of a danger. The idea of placing warm-blooded animals in a mine to detect carbon monoxide was first proposed by the Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane in 1913. Canaries (Serinus canaria ) were considered the best sentinel animals for detection of dangerous gases because they were found to be more sensitive than other species evaluated (Pollock 2016:386-387).
  • Flight

    A chorus of juvenile heartbeats affected by Atrial Septal (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD), Patent Ductus Arteriosus(PDA), and Aortic Valve Stenosis (AVS), transposed to a higher frequency to simulate birdsong
  • An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump

    In Joseph Wright’s 'An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump' (1768), he depicts the re-enactment of Boyle’s famous experiment. Contrary to the restricted viewing of this experiment in the confines of Gresham College by the gentleman of the Royal Society, this audience includes a variety of individuals of different ages and gender, exhibiting a mixture of emotions: a young girl worriedly watches the fate of the bird, while another is comforted by her father, seemingly too upset to view the rest of the experiment; a young boy and middle-aged man look on with absorption, while two young lovers only have eyes for each other; lastly an old man meditates on a skull in a jar, and the scientist stare out at the viewer, and not at the experiment.
  • Modest_ Witness@Second _Millenium

    Boyle's 'New Experiments Physico-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air', which describes experiments with an air-pump, recounts a demonstration attended by high-born women at which small birds were suffocated by the evacuation of the chamber in which the animals were held. Since the ladies interrupted the experiments by demanding that air be let in to rescue a struggling bird, Boyle reported that “to avoid such difficulties, the men later assembled at night to conduct the procedure and attest to the results” (Haraway 2004: 232).
  • Heart of Cape Town Museum

    Christiaan Barnard did forty-eight trial transplants with dogs before he undertook such an operation with a human being.
  • Bird Mark 7 Respirator

    Dr. Bird invented a number of popular medical devices that were used to care for patients with breathing problems. During WWII he served in the Army Air Corps where, in addition to training and transport assignments, he studied aircraft and respiratory and cardiovascular problems at high altitude. Two devices that he produced during the war went into the design of his first commercial ventilator, the Mark 7 Respirator. Dr. Bird’s respirators and anesthesia ventilators have been used during many of the first human surgical procedures. Among these were the first open heart procedure and the first liver transplant.
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