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Posts Tagged ‘implantable pacemaker’


Cardiac Medical Devices Pioneer, Earl E. Bakken, Medtronic Co-founder, the developer of the first external, battery-powered, transistorized pacemaker, died at 94 on 10/21/2018 in Hawaii

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Earl Bakken was born to Florence and Osval Bakken on January 10, 1924, in Minneapolis. After serving as a radar instructor in World War II, Bakken earned a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

In the late 1950’s, Bakken developed the first external, wearable, battery-powered, transistorized heart pacemaker, and commercialized the first implantable pacemaker in 1960. Medtronic grew rapidly from there; today its medical products and devices improve the lives of two people every second.

Earl with five-year-old pacemaker recipient Lyla Koch in 1984

Image Sourcehttp://www.medtronic.com/us-en/about/news/celebrating-earl-bakken.html

CELEBRATING EARL BAKKEN

Legendary Medtronic co-founder passes away in Hawaii.

Earl Bakken, Co-founder, Medtronic, died at 94

Image Sourcehttp://www.medtronic.com/us-en/about/news/celebrating-earl-bakken.html

The business struggled, but while servicing medical equipment, Bakken and Hermundslie built relationships with doctors at university hospitals in Minneapolis. There they met C. Walton Lillehei, a young staff surgeon who would later become famous for pioneering open-heart surgery. Following a blackout in the Twin Cities that caused the death of an infant, Lillehei asked Bakken to come up with a solution. He responded by adapting a circuit described in Popular Electronics magazine to create the first external wearable, battery-powered pacemaker, replacing the large, alternating current-powered pacemakers that were in use at the time.

The original Medtronic "Garage Gang" poses in front of Medtronic Operational Headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota.

The Garage Gang

Standing: Dale Blosberg, Norman Hagfors, Earl Hatten. Seated: John Bravis, Earl Bakken, Louis Leisch

They expanded services to other medical technology. Then in 1960, the first implantable pacemaker was implanted in a human patient. Bakken and Hermundslie reached a licensing agreement with the inventors, giving their small company exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights to the device, and Medtronic took off.

“Earl always had a vision of healthcare of not being about devices, about drugs, but about restoring people to full health,” said former Medtronic CEO Bill George. “And so from the very start he was focused on not implanting a device, but enabling people to live a full active life and he delivered that point of view to all Medtronic employees through The Mission.

A lifelong aspiration came true for Bakken in 2013, when Medtronic Philanthropy launched The Bakken Invitation to honor people who received medical devices, and who made an impact on the lives of others, through service and volunteerism. Bakken, who in his later years became a medical device patient, with a pacemaker, coronary stents and insulin pump, was fond of asking patients what they planned to do with their gift of “extra life.” Each year Bakken met with the honorees. “Their stories are a powerful reminder that we can all give back-no matter our current situation,” he said after meeting them in 2014.

Earl poses with recipients of the Bakken Invitation in 2013.Earl with Bakken Invitation recipients in 2013

Every year in December, Medtronic employees gather to mark another Bakken inspiration — the employee holiday program. The company invites patients from all over the world to share their stories of how medical technology has improved their lives. Hundreds of employees fill the Medtronic conservatory for the event, while thousands of others listen or watch via Medtronic TV.

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