Lewis Center Man Receives New Heart For Valentine’s Day


UPDATED: Thursday February 14, 2013 5:25 PM

Just after midnight on Valentine’s Day, surgeons at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center finished stitching up a man after a heart transplant.

Mark Johnson collapsed with sudden cardiac arrest on Christmas Eve five years ago.

He had his first heart surgery at that time, but his ticker did not recover.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day this year, Dr. Robert Higgins lead a team that removed Johnson’s damaged heart and put in a new, donor heart.

“The transition from removing the old heart and putting a new one in, we always take those things very cautiously, but it went very smoothly and no problems,” Higgins said.

Johnson said he is feeling good but has yet to sort out his emotions.

“It’s something God would do, to give me a heart on Valentine’s Day,” Johnson said.

Higgins praised the doctors and nurses on the team for the successful transplant – OSU’s 384th.

He said that OSU will re-start a lung transplant program, with the first patient to go on the waiting list in the next three to six weeks.

“We recruited some new people, some surgeons with expertise. 00;11:43 My original role in transplant was as lung transplant surgeon. Having all the infrastructure and the support and the team in support programs to be successful, we're excited about re-initiating that.”

The OSU lung transplant program was suspended in 2009 so the medical center could recruit more staff.

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