Last spring, medical students at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) made an incredible discovery when they opened up the cadaver of Rose Bentley, who had passed away at 99 years old. All of her internal organs, except for her heart, were on the wrong side of her body. The discovery was presented at a conference full of astounded anatomists in early April. Bentley lived unknowingly with a condition called situs inversus with levocardia, in which most of the vital organs are reversed. People with this condition often have life-threatening ailments and abnormalities, so doctors are calling Bentley’s case a medical marvel. So how did Bentley live for so long? Warren Nielsen, one of the medical students who examined her, said, “Her heart was missing a large vein that’s normally on the right side.” Instead, her vein was on the left. Cameron Walker, an assistant professor at OHSU, explained, “It continued through her diaphragm, along the thoracic vertebrae, up and around and over the aortic arch, and then emptied into the right side of her heart.” Walker continued, “I think the odds of finding another person like her may be as remote as one in 50 million. I don’t think any of us will ever forget it, honestly.”
Chris Hong Copy Editor
1. What was special about the discovery of Rose Bentley?
2. Why are doctors calling Bentley’s case a medical marvel?
3. What was unique about Bentley's heart?
1. Do you think there are modern day people that unknowingly live with Bentley’s condition?
2. Why is it important for doctors to examine unique bodies like Bentley's?
3. How do you think Bentley was able to live so long with her condition?
4. Do you know of any other medical marvels similar to Bentley's case?