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Einstein Might Have Lived Had He Agreed to Undergo Surgery

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The late Dr. Albert Einstein had a 50-50 chance of living had he agreed to undergo surgery within 24 hours after his condition was diagnosed last April, according to Earl Ubell, science writer for the New York Herald Tribune. In an article in today’s Herald Tribune, Mr. Ubell asserted that Dr. Einstein deliberated too long “for some reason” and died of aneurysm, a ballooning out of the abdominal aorta.

Dr. Einstein’s condition was first discovered six and one-half years ago during an operation performed at the Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn by Dr. Rudolph Nissen. At that time, however, there was nothing that could be done surgically to correct the condition.

Since then French surgical scientists have developed a method of removing the aneurysm and replacing it with a blood vessel taken from another human being who has died of another cause. British and American surgeons subsequently took up this technique and combined it with other surgical advances to a point where they have cut the operative death rate from aneurysm down to 20 percent in some institutions.

In Dr. Einstein’s case, the Herald Tribune writer said, the aorta had begun leaking blood, leaving the surgeons with only 24 hours to perform the operation which under these conditions has proved successful only half the time. After an autopsy was performed on Dr. Einstein, Dr. Thomas S. Harvey, pathologist at Princeton Hospital where the scientist died, was reported to have said that the aneurysm had gone too far for an operation.

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