Here’s the set-up: I reread a fascinating story today in Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. It was the story of how a Parisian obstetrician named Stephane Tarnier stumbled across the way baby chicks were being cared for at the Paris Zoo. Curious, he wondered if the simple chicken incubators would make any difference in the infant mortality rate. Tarnier hired the zoo’s poultry raiser “to construct a device that would perform a similar function for human newborns.”
Want to guess what happened when they tested it on five hundred babies?
“While 66% of low-weight babies died within within weeks of birth, only 38% died if they were housed in Tarnier’s incubator box.”
500 babies. Normally 330 would die within weeks of birth in 1870s Paris. With the incubator box they cut the number of baby deaths to 190.
Here’s the question: What’s the incubator we need to develop to decrease the mortality rate for premature spiritual babies?
What do you think? Have an idea? Want to ask a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.