First American Gets A Successful Heart Transplant At Apollo Hospitals, Chennai !

Doctors in the US had given Ronald Lemmer, 65, only a year to live and had scoffed at his idea of going to India for a heart transplant. They told him he would return in a coffin. Today, after a successful heart transplant at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Lemmer is smiling. So is India ’s medical fraternity.

Lemmer was transplanted with the heart of a 36-year-old accident victim in an eight-hour surgery by Dr Paul Ramesh at Apollo Hospitals Chennai . In the process, two records were also created. The patient was not only the first U.S. citizen to undergo a heart transplant in India, but he was also the oldest person to undergo a heart transplant in the country.

“I decided to come to India for the transplant after some research on the internet,” said Lemmer. His wife Shelly, visibly emotional, said, ” My husband is a walking miracle. He looks at least 15 years younger. Earlier his heart was functioning at 20% of its capacity. Now it has gone up to 60%.”

After coming to Chennai in May this year, it was an excruciating wait of three months for the couple before Lemmer found a suitable donor. “He was very lucky as the donor ’s heart did not match with any Indians on the waiting list and hence we selected him,” said Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals.

It may be recalled that Dr Prathap C Reddy started Apollo Hospitals in 1983 after a patient of his died because he couldn ’t reach US in time for treatment. Now with the first patient from the US getting a heart transplant in India, we have come full circle.

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