FIRST PATIENT ENROLLED IN ABIOCOR TRIAL DIES
- University of Louisville physicians Laman A. Gray, Jr., MD,
and Rob D. Dowling, MD, are deeply saddened to announce the death
of Robert Tools. Mr. Tools was the recipient of the world's first
totally implantable artificial heart on July 2 at Jewish Hospital.
Mr. Tools passed away due to complications that arose after an
episode of severe abdominal bleeding.
"Bob became a dear friend to all
of us. We will miss Bob's laugh, his sense of humor and his fighting
spirit," Dr. Dowling said. "Our sympathy and support
go out to his family and to all those who knew and loved Bob.
His pioneering spirit will long live on in the fight against heart
Mr. Tools began bleeding on Thursday,
November 29, 2001, and he went into multi-organ system failure
late Thursday. Mr. Tools developed bleeding in his abdominal area
that was due to the continuous anti-coagulation problems that
Mr. Tools has had from the onset related to his pre-existing severe
and chronic medical condition. Mr. Tools died early Friday afternoon.
His death was unrelated to the stroke he suffered on November
11. The deterioration in his condition was not caused by complications
or a malfunction of the AbioCor device.
Mr. Tools' determination and will to
live helped him make great strides in the weeks following his
surgery. Mr. Tools was able to do things that he had not enjoyed
in several years. He made frequent trips outside the hospital,
including lunches at area restaurants, fishing with his physicians
and an evening at a comedy club.
"Mr. Tools and his family members
are heroes. Their willingness to be the first to participate in
the AbioCor clinical trial could potentially pave the way for
a revolutionary treatment option for advanced heart disease,"
Dr. Dowling said. "Though we are grieving the loss of a true
medical pioneer and dear friend, his spirit has emboldened us
to continue our fight against heart failure - a disease that is
responsible for the deaths of 250,000 people per year in the U.S.
"Bob Tools was an extraordinarily
courageous man," said Dr. David M. Lederman, ABIOMED's Chief
Executive Officer. "During his nearly five months of life
with the AbioCor, an incredibly strong bond developed between
Bob and the ABIOMED community, as well as between Bob and the
world at large. Everyone who came in contact with him was impressed
by his strength of spirit, his wit and intelligence and by the
resolve with which he fought to survive. Our most profound respect
and our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Carol, who supported
him through years of struggle with heart failure, and to his entire
family. We are glad to have known him, and to have helped to provide
his wife and family with additional months of Bob's companionship."
"Prior to coming to Jewish Hospital,
Bob would have faded away slowly at home. But after our decision
to participate in this experimental procedure, he has been able
to make a difference for mankind, enjoy some of his favorite things
in life, and experience a bit of notoriety - and for Bob, nothing
could have been better. Bob and I were able to participate in
a lot of fun activities over the past couple of months, more so
than in the past few years. He was able to enjoy a better quality
of life than we could ever had imagined," said Carol Tools,
Added his son, Carlin Tools, "My
father exhibited great strength and courage, that of a champion,
while going through his fight for life. We celebrate his life,
lessons and contribution to countless others who may one day benefit
from the AbioCor artificial heart."
Mrs. Tools added that she is grateful
for the prayers and support they continue to receive from the
The physicians and Mr. Tools family
will not be available for interviews. They appreciate your continued
respect for their privacy.