Introspection

Transplant Recipients Hold Their Own Hearts

Unceremoniously lifting the surgical cloth that covers the heart, Roberts describes what he sees. The history of the heart is there, incontrovertibly embedded in the organ. Most are cocooned in hard yellow fat. [...]

Murtha awoke in an intensive care unit, with a new heart bounding in his chest. His old heart went first to the pathology lab for an autopsy. At that point, Roberts claims, "99.5 percent of hospitals throw the hearts away. They just don't have the space to keep them." Baylor is different, however. Their lab contains thousands of hearts in permanent storage, making it one of the most extensive cardiac research facilities in the world. The availability of these organs creates a unique opportunity for a program like Heart-to-Heart. [...]

Hendrix had expected to see something "black and shriveled, probably three times the normal size, and just jello-like."

Bell had expected a big red ideograph, "like when you open a Valentine's card."

"It wasn't like that at all though," he continued. "What it reminded me of, was a piece of roast beef."

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2 Responses:

  1. Eli the Bearded says:

    As someone who has always asked for dental molds to keep after medical use and for wisdom teeth back after extraction, if I ever have a transplant, I know I'd ask for the organ in a jar.

  2. Luke Lathrop says:

    years ago, I worked in the Baylor College of Medicine building. If I remember right, these
    stored hearts were on a floor below ground level...I used to walk through it to get to my parking area. A bunch were out on display in cases on a wall, as a kind of museum for Dr's. I wonder if they came through the floods. I can just see them floating down that hall.

    My office was in the part of the building Dr. DeBakey's lab was in...They were right near a freight elevator, that always smelled like a barn. Every now and then, when I walked through the area, I'd look through an open door and seem them doing open heart surgery on a cow or sheep. They were just suspended in a sling, but it looked like they were standing there with their back flayed open, and some guy up to his literal elbow inside of it, practicing doing heart swaps.

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