Belding Hibbard Scribner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Belding H. Scribner)
Jump to: navigation, search
Belding Hibbard Scribner
Born (1921-01-18)January 18, 1921
Died June 19, 2003(2003-06-19) (aged 82)
Education Stanford University (1945)
Known for Scribner shunt

Belding Hibbard Scribner (January 18, 1921 – June 19, 2003) was a U.S. physician and a pioneer in kidney dialysis.


Scribner received his medical degree from Stanford University in 1945. After completing his postgraduate studies at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of Washington in 1951. Scribner was married to Ethel Hackett Scribner and together they had four children: Peter, Robert, Thomas and Elizabeth.

In 1960, he invented a breakthrough device, the Scribner shunt (along with Wayne Quinton and David Dillard), that later saved the lives of countless people with end-stage kidney disease around the globe. The first patient treated was Clyde Shields, due to treatment with the new shunt-technique he survived his chronic renal failure for more than eleven years and died in 1971.

Scribners invention created a new problem to clinical practice and put physicians in a moral dilemma: Who will be treated if possible treatment is limited? The ethical issues around this dilemma are known as the Seattle experience. In 1964, Scribner's presidential address to the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs discussed the problems of patient selection, termination of treatment, patient suicide, death with dignity, and selection for transplantation. This experience with selecting who would receive dialysis is often recognized as the beginning of bioethics.

To provide dialysis on a routine basis outside a research setting, Dr. Scribner turned to the King County Medical Society for sponsorship of a community supported outpatient dialysis center. James Haviland, then president of the Society, worked tirelessly to bring Scribner's vision to fruition. As a result, the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center was established in January 1962. Eventually renamed Northwest Kidney Centers, it was the world's first out-of-hospital - "outpatient" - dialysis treatment center. the outpatient model of dialysis care has been the standard dialysis care delivery model worldwide since Scribner helped establish the Northwest Kidney Centers.

In 2002 he received the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 2002, together with Willem J. Kolff.

Scribner used a red canoe to commute from his houseboat to the hospital everyday. He published many scientific papers and books up until his death 19 June 2003 when his red canoe was found afloat but empty.[1]


  1. ^ Oxford handbook of clinical medicine (7th ed. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007. ISBN 9780198568377. 

External links[edit]