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Eva Baisey, the first heart transplant recipient in the DC region, dies of COVID-19

Washington (CBS)

Known as one of the longest-lived heart transplant recipients in his medical history, Eva Baisey died of COVID-19 at the age of 55. She died on September 12, 2021.

“48 Hours” and Jim Axelrod covered the case in an episode called “Broken Hearts.”

Doctors thought the life expectancy of a former nurse, Basie, might be another one to five years, but she exceeded all expectations and lived another 35 years with a donated heart.

Eva Basie with a smile was preparing to leave the hospital about two months after the heart transplant. Credit: INOVA

In 1986, at the age of 20, two single mothers were diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

“‘Idiopathic’ means that we don’t know the cause of heart failure,” Dr. Ed Lefrak told CBS News Jim Axelrod in 2019.

Baisey will be the first heart transplant patient in the Washington, DC region, where he will be Dr. Lefrak, the first surgeon to do it. Heart transplants were so rare at the time that he and his team had a lunch break in the morgue to practice surgery.

And on December 28, 1986, they finally got a donor.

“I think they called me and said it was a donor with a gunshot wound in his head,” Lefrak said.

Mary Willy and Karen Armart in the Oakton High School and Falls Church High School Yearbooks.

It will take years for them to find the complete story behind them. The blood donor was Mark Wiley, a young man who murdered his estranged girlfriend, 19-year-old Karen Elmart. Willie shot her head when the police arrived at the scene.

But his heart is still beating and Eva Basie will be the recipient.

“It’s just — it’s the mind. It’s the organ. It’s not the organ of murder,” Basie told “48 hours” in 2019. “And it’s an organ that happened to save my life.”

Not only a new life born of tragedy, but a lifelong friendship was born. Eva Baisey became friends with Dr. Lefrak and the medical team that saved her life.

Eva Basie and Dr. Ed Lefrak. Credit: INOVA

“So this isn’t just your doctor,” Jim Axelrod asked in 2019.

“No, he’s my friend,” she replied. “I still call him Dr. Lefrak, but he is now my friend. Yeah, I love him. I love him dearly.”

Eva Baisey, the first heart transplant recipient in the DC region, dies of COVID-19

Source link Eva Baisey, the first heart transplant recipient in the DC region, dies of COVID-19

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