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What Scribner Wrought: How the Invention of Modern Dialysis Shaped Health Law and Policy


Sallie Thieme Sanford


University of Washington - School of Law

April 2010

Richmond Journal of Law and Public Interest, Vol. 13, p. 337, 2010

Abstract:     
In March 1960, Clyde Shields, a machinist dying from incurable kidney disease, was connected to an "artificial kidney" by means of a U-shaped Teflon tube that came to be known as the Scribner shunt. By facilitating long-term dialysis, Dr. Belding Scriber’s invention changed chronic kidney failure from a fatal illness to a treatable condition. This medical advance has, in turn, had a profound impact on key areas of health law and policy.

This paper focuses on the historical roots and current context of three interrelated areas: ethical allocation of scarce medical resources; public financing of expensive health care; and decisions to stop treatment for non-medically indicated reasons.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: Dialysis, God Committee, Medicare, Medical Technology, Health Reform, Ethics, Bioethics, Abandonment, Health Policy

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Date posted: March 5, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Sanford, Sallie Thieme, What Scribner Wrought: How the Invention of Modern Dialysis Shaped Health Law and Policy (April 2010). Richmond Journal of Law and Public Interest, Vol. 13, p. 337, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1775066

Contact Information

Sallie Thieme Sanford (Contact Author)
University of Washington - School of Law ( email )
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

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