Broken Hearts in My Fiction

By Mariana Ruiz Villarreal (LadyofHats) (Own work) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

Once upon a time, doctors couldn’t fix broken hearts. People who managed to survive injury and infection long enough to develop heart disease were shit out of luck if they suffered cardiac arrest. CPR as we know it is only 56 years old! Cardiac surgery itself has been around since the 1890′s, but for decades operations were performed ‘blind’ on beating hearts in thousands of patients before the first heart bypass occurred. Heart transplants didn’t come on the scene until the late 1960′s. Back in the day, if you were born with a congenital heart defect, suffered rheumatic fever, or your heart was otherwise injured, then you died.

The odds of surviving a broken heart are much better now because the science (and art) of heart medicine were allowed to progress. Yet in spite of the obvious benefits in terms of improved survivability, many areas of science at large and medical science in particular are still held back by social defects. Stem cell research and climate science may currently be the most popular targets of anti-progress, but even space exploration still takes hits from mal-intents in spite of all the amazing ways reaching for the stars has improved life on Earth.

Fortunately, the antidote for fundamentalism and other social defects is the same as the antidote for broken hearts: Progress and ever more progress. Scientists can’t be expected to do everything for us, though. We writers (and artists) can save many future lives by committing our craft to the forward motion of our cultures today.

Putting science in fiction is good for our hearts in more ways than one.

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