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When Harry Selker was working as a cardiologist in the 1970s, clot-busting drugs were showing great promise against heart attacks. But their life-saving properties were very time sensitive. "If you give it within the first hour it has a 47 percent reduction of mortality; if you wait another hour, it has a 28 percent reduction; another hour, 23 percent. And people were taking about 90 minutes to make that decision," he recalls. "So they were losing the opportunity to save patients' lives."

Who Is Responsible For That Pile Of Poop?

Sep 23, 2016

A group of villagers walks through Jiling, in the Nuwakot district of central Nepal, with eyes glued to the ground. They cut narrow paths around rice fields and yield to goats until they find what they are looking for: A brown, stinky, fly-covered pile.

"It's poop," laughs 40-year-old Chandra Kumari. Human poop.

Leading the expedition is Sanjaya Devkota, who works for the U.N. Habitat through the Global Sanitation Fund. He asks who's responsible for the offending pile.

Almost two decades ago, Dr. Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.

The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was that Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague's skill. His partner's patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner's attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don't squeal on doctors.

American lives have been getting steadily longer, and since the 1960s that trend has been driven mostly by a remarkable reduction in heart disease. But those improvements have slowed dramatically. Scientists are now wondering whether we're approaching the end of the trend of longer, healthier lives.

That's because the steady decline in heart disease is fading.

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