6 January 2021

Anthropologists from IFSV in Weekendavisen article on hearts and pigs

Associate Professor Anja Marie Bornø Jensen, co-director of the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies at the Department of Public Health, appears in an article in the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen called “Hjerternes Fest”. Read the full article in PDF version for free.

The article follows the heart surgeons in the pig laboratory and describes how the heart of the pig is put on an ex-vivo machine and is able to beat outside the body. The heart surgeons need the pig model so they can practice and improve the technology for human transplantation. It is the hope, that technology such as this will help them to use more organs in the constant fight against organ shortage. Research and knowledge like this will be particularly important in the future as Denmark implements a new death criterion for human organ donors in 2021: donation after circulatory death (DCD).

Jensen has done anthropological field studies in these labs focusing on the pig as model for the human in experimental transplant research as a part of professor Mette Nordal Svendsens FKK Sapere Aude project “LifeWorth”. In the article, Jensen explains why and how the pig matters for the future of transplantation and for medical progress and education in general. Based on her previous research among donor families and organ recipients, Jensen also explains why the heart has a special status in transplantation, compared to other organs.

The article in Weekendavisen builds on insights from Jensen and Svendsen’s scientific article “Collaborative Intimacies, where they have analyzed how medical professionals interact and relate to each other in new ways when a pig is on the operating table. More specifically “Collaborative Intimacies” discusses how the research pigs in Danish organ transplantation facilitate medical training, moral reflection, and social networking. The article is published in the journal “Medicine Anthropology Theory” http://journals.ed.ac.uk/index.php/mat/article/view/5045