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KUOW Presents

A Kidney Pioneer: Riding The Cutting Edge Of Medicine

Sarah Waller

Before 1960, kidney failure was an automatic death sentence. But 50 years ago, a Seattle doctor named Dr. Belding Scribner invented a device that made long–term dialysis possible. It was called the Scribner Shunt. For patients, the invention meant a new lease on life. For the medical community, it sparked a debate that is often called the birth of bioethics. Nancy Spaeth was 18 years old and dying from kidney failure when she had the opportunity to get a Scribner Shunt. Now, she is one of the world's oldest surviving dialysis patients. KUOW's Sarah Waller spoke with Nancy about her pioneering role in kidney research and treatment.

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