Posts tagged ‘heart transplant’

And the beat goes on…heart transplant patients, surgeons reunite

Constance Murray, who underwent a heart transplant in 1986, is embraced by Dr. John Pennock, the surgeon who performed the surgery. She is wearing a blazer and top and has her eyes closed. Dr. Pennock is wearing glasses and a suit and tie. Behind them two women stand at a table with a sign “Save Lives” on it.
Constance Murray, who underwent a heart transplant in 1986, is embraced by Dr. John Pennock, the surgeon who performed the surgery, at Hershey Medical Center’s annual heart transplant reunion.

By Carolyn Kimmel

To Constance Murray, heart transplantation sounded like something out of science fiction movie – one she certainly didn’t care to star in.

It was 1986, and Murray had struggled for more than a year with shortness of breath when she climbed stairs or walked even a short distance. Her symptoms were steadily worsening.

When a diagnosis of congestive cardiomyopathy was made, Murray faced two choices – medications that had about a 1% chance of working or a heart transplant.

“Heart transplant surgery was new then,” the New Cumberland resident said. “I had read about people dying after it. I said ‘no.’ I couldn’t handle the thought of that.”

Things only worsened.


June 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

“Every day is a gift:” 500th heart transplant patient celebrates milestone with gratitude

Dr. John Boehmer, left, touches David Wheeler’s neck. Boehmer is wearing a white lab coat with the Hershey Medical Center logo on it. Wheeler is propped up on a hospital bed and is wearing a hospital gown and surgical mask. Behind them is a shelf with medical equipment and cables.

Dr. John Boehmer, a cardiologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, examines David Wheeler before performing a biopsy on his heart.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Not a day goes by that David Wheeler doesn’t think about the fact that the heart beating in his chest isn’t the one he began life with 56 years ago.

A former self-described workaholic, the Williamsport resident sounds almost poetic as he describes a new outlook on life.

“I lie in bed every morning and hear the birds chirping, the wind blowing, the smell of grass being cut,” said Wheeler, a maintenance man at a local container company for 23 years. “I think people take life for granted. I know I did. I thank God for every day I wake up.”

  • Watch a video of Penn State Health heart transplant recipients “Sharing their Heart Stories.”

Wheeler’s heart transplant, which took place on June 23, marks the 500th heart transplant since Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center began doing the transplants in 1984. It’s the only hospital between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that performs heart transplant surgery.

“It’s a significant milestone for us,” said Dr. Behzad Soleimani, surgical director of heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute. “Our longevity speaks to the quality of the work we do. Our one-year survival rate is more than 90 percent, which is among the best in the nation.”


October 11, 2018 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

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