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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Bob and Me
By Dan Beaulieu and Bob Tarzwell
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The Bleeding Edge: Serious as a Heart Attack
This Bleeding Edge is a bit different, and the word "bleeding" is certainly appropriate! I recently had a firsthand chance to see how many printed circuit boards are in use in a typical hospital emergency room these days. I was in New Jersey visiting R&D Circuits. I had a great dinner with R&D President James Russell and headed back to my hotel. I was relaxing in my hotel room when I suffered a myocardial infarction, i.e., a heart attack.
My first, but not my last.As a longtime EMT with the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association, I understood the need to get to the hospital quickly, though I also believed that this was only a sign of angina--for now. So I drove myself down the road to the hospital.
(By the way, please don't try this at home. As an EMT, I have a lot of training that you might not have. Please call an ambulance if you have a serious medical issue.)
So I walked into the emergency room and announced, "Hi, I'm an EMT and I'm having a heart attack." Boy, does that simple sentence make people hustle! Needless to say, I was taken care of immediately.
During my time in the ER, I looked around and saw printed circuit boards everywhere: Heart monitors, metering units for the nitroglycerin drip, the heart rate clip on my finger, and the X-ray unit they used to take my internal photos.
As many of you know, I've worked on a variety of high-voltage boards over the course of my career. Sure enough, the MRI machine I was assigned used my 16 oz. heavy copper driver circuits--the huge magnets in the MRI precluded the use of any boards except the "big guns."
But of all the medical machines and devices that I have helped create over the years, the one that monitored my heart was my savior.
While I was lying in the ER, I had the BIG heart attack--it's a good thing I didn't have to drive after that one. The monitors all started beeping and squawking loudly, and the nurses and doctors came a-running.
In a sense, the years of work I had done for the medical companies--expanding the PCB's usability into different technologies and applications--may have saved my life. I like to think so, anyway!
A short while later, after a little laser blast to clear the artery that burst the blood vessel in my heart, a few balloons to open up the artery and a couple of stents to keep it open (not to mention what felt like gallons of morphine), I was feeling much better.
My days recovering in intensive care were spent sleeping, reading and analyzing all the machines I was hooked up to, checking for PCB technologies. (How many PCBs can we find in a typical hospital? Any ideas?)
In the end, I am doing OK. I'm starting to work a little bit at home and I'm busy recovering. Next week I'll be back in the hospital to be checked again, courtesy of even more "medical wonder" equipment packed with PCBs. For now, we want to determine how much heart function I am left with--after the operation I was only pumping 50%. Ouch.
So I'm shooting for 100%. I'll let you know how it turns out.
You never know ... the time I spent working to improve bleeding-edge PCB technologies may help save your life some day.
I'm fairly certain it saved mine. But isn't that what the bleeding edge is all about?
Bob Tarzwell is CEO and founder of DMR Ltd. He can be reached at email@example.com.
More Columns from Bob and MeControlled Impedance: A Real-World Look at the PCB Side
Bob and Me: The Key to Increasing Quality - Bribe Your Employees
Bob and Me: Tarzwell's First--and Last--Lean Meeting
Bob and Me: A PCB Potpourri
Bob and Me: Spacing is Irrelevant Below 270 Volts
PCB 101: Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
PCB101: Fabricating High-Voltage Boards
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