Uploaded by Jessica Greenberg


Class set: do not write on this page!
READING: Is Sammy Alive?
Part 1
Substituted Sammy was a normal healthy boy. There was nothing in his life to indicate that
he was any different from anyone else. When he completed high school he obtained a job in a
factory operating a press. On this job he had an accident and lost his right hand. It was
replaced with an artificial hand that looked and operated like a real one.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 2
Soon afterward, Sammy developed a rare intestinal disease and a large portion of his lower
small intestine had to be removed. It was replaced with an elastic silicon tube.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 3
Everything looked good for Sammy until he was involved in a serious car accident. Both of
his legs and his good arm were crushed, and had to be amputated. Sammy also lost an ear in
the accident. Prosthetic legs enabled Sammy to walk agilely and, an artificial arm replaced
his real arm. Sammy had plastic surgery in which doctors used silicon plastic to rebuild the
ear that had been lost in the crash.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 4
Over the next several years Sammy was plagued with internal disorders. First, he had to have
an operation to remove his aorta and replace it with a synthetic vessel. Next, his kidneys
malfunctioned and the only way he could survive was to use a kidney dialysis machine. A
kidney donor was sought, but no ones kidneys were compatible with Sammy’s. Later, his
digestive system became cancerous and had to be removed. He received his nourishment
intravenously. Finally, his heart failed. Luckily for Sammy a donor heart was available, and it
was successfully transplanted into him.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 5
It was now obvious that Sammy had become a medial phenomenon. He had artificial limbs.
Nourishment was supplied to him through his veins: therefore he had no solid wastes. All
waste material was removed by the kidney dialysis machine, which also supplied oxygen and
removed carbon dioxide from his blood as it circulated the blood throughout his body.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 6
The doctors consulted bioengineers about Sammy. Since almost all of his life-sustaining
functions were being carried on by machines they thought it might be possible to compress
all of them into one mobile unit which could be controlled by electrical impulses from the
brain. This unit would be equipped with mechanical arms to enable him to perform
manipulative tasks. A mechanism to create a flow of air over his vocal cords might enable
him to speak. In addition to all of this, they would have to amputate at the neck and attach his
head to the machine, which would then supply all nutrients to his brain. Sammy consented,
and the operation was successfully performed.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Part 7
Sammy functioned well for a few years however, slow deterioration of his brain cells was
observed and he was diagnosed as terminal. So the medical team that had developed around
Sammy began to program his brain. A miniature computer was developed: it could be housed
in a machine that was human-like in appearance, movement, and mannerism. As the
computer was installed Sammy’s brain cells completely deteriorated. Sammy was once again
able to leave the hospital with the complete assurance that he would never return with any
biological illnesses.
Is Sammy alive? (explain why or why not)
Characteristics of Life Notes
name __________________ page___
After you read each part about Sammy, discuss with your partners and determine if you think he is,
or is not alive and WHY.
Explain why or why not alive...AND write what % living you think he is
​ ___%
​ ___%
​ ___%
​ ___%
​ ___%
​ ___%
​ ___%
Wrap up questions:
1) What was Sammy “made into” at the end of the story?
2) After each part, you wrote the % alive you deemed Sammy to be…….is this a trick question?
3) In terms of ETHICS (we have a class for that) what is Sammy’s ​quality of life ​at the end of the
Activity: Living, Non-living, or Dead?
Underneath the characteristics column, list qualities you believe living things should have
in order to be classified as “living”. Next, you will rotate around the room and observe
different specimens; check off any of the characteristics that you believe the specimen
may have. At the bottom of the column, determine the specimen to be living = L,
non-living = NL, or dead = D.
(non-living means it was NEVER alive)
L, NL, D ?
CLASS NOTES: ALL living things share these characteristics
*******use below for honors and then don’t have the story broken into parts???????
Name _____________________________________ Period ___________ Date ___________________
Summary Questions: ​Please answer the following using complete sentences.
1. By the end of this story does Sammy still have the necessary characteristics to be
considered a living organism? Explain your answer.
2. Citing examples from the story list, describe all of the characteristics of life that Sammy
lost. (You should have at least 5, see pg. 16 of your text for characteristics.)
a. _________________________________________________________________
b. _________________________________________________________________
c. _________________________________________________________________
d. _________________________________________________________________
e. _________________________________________________________________
3. If you were Sammy would you have allowed the doctors and scientists to perform all of
the procedures to save your life? Do you think this is a true story?
4. Do you think creating ‘hybridized’ robots with brain cells is a good idea? If not, explain
why? If so, how might this be useful?
5. ​Bonus (2pts): ​Draw a picture of Sammy when he left the hospital for the last time. (You
may use a separate sheet of paper.)