The first successful human heart transplant in the United States was performed at Stanford Hospital 50 years ago. That procedure, by legendary heart surgeon Norman Shumway, MD, PhD, (shown above) led to the standard surgical technique for heart transplantation that’s still in use today. And it’s the reason why patients, like Yolanda, have been given a second chance at life.
“Life before my first heart transplant [in 1991] was literally hell,” she says in the Stanford Health Care video below. “I couldn’t function as a person on a day-to-day basis with the heart that I had.”
Yolanda, whose cardiologist, Sharon Hunt, MD, PhD, was a Stanford medical student when the first transplant was performed, eventually became the first heart transplant recipient to have a child at Stanford. And, after some health setbacks, she received a second heart transplant and kidney transplant in 2015.
Today, Yolanda has much to be thankful for, which she credits to the early pioneers. "Stanford has saved my life not once, but twice,” she says. “They’ve also given my daughter life. It was unheard of to have a baby back then after a heart transplant. I wouldn’t have my grandson Jonah or the second grandchild due this July. Without Dr. Shumway doing his miracle work, three generations would not be here.”
Video and image by Stanford Health Care