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Read Chapter One
Foundation of Family and Faith
Emma Elizabeth Kopf—By her teen years, Emma Elizabeth Kopf had grown to her full adult height of 5'½"—she insisted that everyone acknowledge that extra half inch. Throughout her life this compact-sized woman endowed with a huge heart won the love and respect of others... Download chapter one
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Hear as the authors share Harold's story
Listen to a recorded interview with his partner and friend, his attorney and his beloved sister conducted by Bob Conroy. Listen now
To Change the Heart of Man
by Dave Racer
To Change the Heart of Man, the newest book by Dave Racer is a charming, dignified yet penetrating look into the life of a multidimensional man with a singular focus — to save lives. Driven by deep faith, a brilliant mind and insatiable scientific curiosity, Dr. Harold Kletschka made major medical and business innovations by humbly challenging the ‘status quo' and slaying the dragons of the establishment who greedily sought to devour his life saving work of developing the artificial heart.
This book tells the story of how the human race lost out on a life-saving device—a permanent, totally implantable artificial heart.
This heart could have been available as early as the middle 1960s. Instead, millions of people whose lives could have been extended for decades became the unwitting victims of an insidious system that too often punishes people of good will. So goes the life story of Dr. Harold D. Kletschka, father of the artificial heart. His pioneering work and seminal contributions paved the way for the development of a permanent implantable artificial heart. All other artificial heart projects since Dr. Kletschka's have borrowed from, adopted, or based their approaches on his contributions. Only the Kletschka/Rafferty Artificial Heart was totally implantable, while remaining untethered to any external device or power source.
But why tell such a story?
Some surely will accuse us of whining about "life as it really is." They will say, "That's how problems get solved in the real world." They will be wrong.
Every now and then entrepreneurs and inventors do great things in spite
of systems that work against them. Though Dr. Kletschka's artificial heart
work remains uncompleted, his Bio-Pump® became recognized as the gold
standard for future surgical blood pump development. That is why Texas
heart surgeon, Dr. Denton Cooley, the first surgeon to use the pump in
an open-heart surgical procedure, wrote, "In my opinion, the concept of
a centrifugal pump was a major improvement." The Bio-Pump® has saved hundreds
of thousands of lives and Dr. Kletschka's perseverance and partnership
with Edson Rafferty made this possible.
An entirely new way of doing research and development grew out of Dr. Kletschka's efforts—a valuable business lesson told here.
Along come dark forces that work against human progress—and here is where skeptics will accuse me wrongly. The human race cannot afford to accept mediocrity as normative, nor can it accept medical or scientific ethics based on the basest of all human behaviors. Injustice that passes for justice in supposedly impartial courts is unacceptable. Dr. Kletschka meant to relieve human suffering but the "system" wrongly refused him to do so.
In a larger sense, this is really not a book about Dr. Kletschka. It is a real life play that pits faith against pragmatism, the sanctity of human life against a system that sees itself as all important, idealism against greed and avarice, human ingenuity against bureaucratic barriers.
Are people worth the expenditure of a lifetime contribution of time and talent, or just vessels upon which other, more privileged and well-positioned people can ride to their own self-fulfillment?
Dr. Kletschka took his Catholic faith very seriously. It drove every aspect of his life, and this may establish a barrier to some readers. Many modernists think that faith should be relegated to the confines of the closet, never displayed or applied in the public arena—and "egads!" never to scientific inquiry. Yet, to ignore the dominant role that faith played in his life would be like denying the sun exists. To answer the question, "How do men accomplish great things?" in this case, and I dare say in many others, rests on the foundation of religious faith.
I side with men like Dr. Kletschka whose personal faith is practiced both in the closet and openly. It is a faith that positively affects their motives and directly affects their successes, and this accrues to the benefit of all people.
I challenge the reader to see what happens when a man of serious, consistent faith confronts a system that resents and even attempts to destroygood people, and by so doing, serves the most heinous of evil purposes—the death of human life.