Heart transplant

Eva Baisey, DC area’s first heart transplant recipient, dies of COVID-19

Washington (CBS)

Known as one of the longest-lived heart transplant recipients in her 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, could be one to five years, but she exceeded all expectations and lived 35 more years with a donated heart.

Eva Basie with a smile was about 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 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 area, where he will be Dr. Lefrak, the first surgeon to do so. Heart transplants were so rare at the time that he and his team took a lunch break in the morgue to perform the surgery.

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

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

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

It will take them years to find the full story behind them. The blood donor was Mark Wiley, a young man who murdered his ex-girlfriend, Karen Elmart, 19. Willie shot himself in the head when police arrived at the scene.

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

“It’s just – it’s the mind. It is the organ. It’s not the organ of murder, “Basie said” 48 Hours “in 2019.” And it’s an organ that saved my life. “

Not only was a new life born out of tragedy, but a long-standing friendship was born. Eva Baisey befriended Dr Lefrak and the medical team who saved her life.

Eva Basie and Dr Ed Lefrak. Credit: INOVA

“So it’s not 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 like it. I love him dearly. “

Eva Baisey, DC area’s first heart transplant recipient, dies of COVID-19

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