Eva Baisey, known as one of the longest living heart transplant recipients in medical history, has died from COVID-19 at age 55. Baisley, a Blackwoman, passed away on September 12, 2021 — more than 34 years after receiving a heart from an unlikely donor (a White man), reports MSN.
Doctors thought Baisey, a former nurse, might have a life expectancy of just one to five more years, but she surpassed all expectations, living another three and a half decades with the donated heart.
In 1986, then 20 years old, the single mother of two was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy.
“The ‘idiopathic’ means we have no idea what caused the heart failure,” Dr. Ed Lefrak explained to CBS News’ Jim Axelrod in 2019.
Baisey would become the Washington, D.C. area’s first heart transplant patient — and Dr. Lefrak, the first surgeon there to perform it. At the time, heart transplants were so uncommon that he and his team would spend their lunch breaks in the morgue to practice the surgery.