Derrick Morris, Europe’s longest surviving heart patient, aged 75, died on Saturday night, 25 years and a half after his heart transplant operation.
Mr. Morris, a docks worker form Swansea, had his first heart attack in 1975, and was forced to quit work 4 years later because his heart problems were recurrent.
In 1980, he underwent what was then pioneering surgery, after which he was given only a 15% chance of survival. Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub performed the operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex; he transplanted the heart of a woman killed in a car accident. [quote]Since then I have traveled the world, America and the Far East, Europe, which I never did before:Mr. Morris, at the 25th anniversary of his transplant[/quote]Up to that moment, only 10 other such operations had been performed in Great Britain and the procedure was very controversial at the time. Mr. Morris was told to live his life “six months at a time” after the surgery, and yet, he reached the 25th anniversary of his heart transplant.
David Napier, director of British Heart Foundation Wales, said that Mr. Morris showed great inspiration to other heart transplant patients. He participated in the work of the British Heart Foundation and supported the Foundation’s fundraising initiatives in Wales. Only a few weeks before he died, he had joined a 4 km stroll along Swansea Bay, which was organized in order to raise money for heart disease research.
“Most importantly, Derrick went on to show that transplantation was a good thing”, said Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, the surgeon who performed the operation, and this helped change public opinion on this type of surgery. Mr. Morris also helped promote campaigns to fight heart disease and urge people to sign up as potential organ donors.
The HeartZine editorial team offers its sympathies to all affected by the sad passing of Mr. Derrick Morris.