LOUISVILLE PHYSICIANS OFFER UPDATE
ARTIFICIAL HEART PATIENTS' PROGRESS
Christerson family makes
first public statement since September 13
(LOUISVILLE, Ky) - The University of Louisville surgeons
who implanted the world's first and second AbioCor totally implantable
replacement hearts at Jewish Hospital July 2 and September 13, announced
today that both patients continue to recover from their respective
surgeries. Drs. Laman Gray and Rob Dowling report that they are
pleased with the progress Bob Tools and Tom Christerson are making.
ROBERT (BOB) TOOLS, 59, Franklin, Kentucky
The world's first AbioCor patient, Bob Tools, continues
to undergo daily physical rehabilitation at Frazier Rehab Institute,
takes daily walks in and around the hospital, and visits with family
and staff. "He's still adjusting to his new surroundings,"
Gray said after Mr. Tools moved out of the intensive care unit (ICU)
to a transitional monitoring unit (TMU). "But we are encouraged
by his improving strength and mobility."
TOM CHRISTERSON, 70, Central City, Kentucky
Just days after receiving his artificial heart, Tom
Christerson is breathing well without ventilator support, spending
time each day sitting in a chair and taking short walks outside
his room. "His kidney function is improving dramatically, and
he seems ready to tackle his recovery head-on," Dowling explained.
Both doctors continue to stress the experimental nature
of the implants, and anticipate "ups and downs" for both
patients. "Overall," Gray concluded, "we are very
pleased by the progress these gentlemen have made so far. They are
Tom Christerson's family has released a statement
in response to media coverage of his life and surgery: "We're
thankful to the doctors and nurses at Jewish Hospital and the University
of Louisville and the engineering team from ABIOMED. We're cautiously
optimistic as we know there is a long recovery ahead. We'd like
to thank friends and family that have been praying for us. All comments
will be handled through the communications team from Jewish Hospital
and the University of Louisville. We will not be making further
public comment at this time, and we ask that members of the media
respect our privacy."
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