Posted 7:41 AM 9/17/2012 : Postal worker leaves hospital without heart
A 64 year old postal worker went home from the hospital, without his heart. Now the world's only artificial heart is keeping him alive.
Leroy Hanes is now home, all because of a portable power supply that'll keep is artificial heart beating.
"It used to be that.... implanted patients were tied to hospital and a huge machine, the big advance is this freedom driver to allow people to go home," says Dr. Michael Bresicker, heart surgeon.
Freedom drivers make little noise, sounding like a clam and steady heartbeat. The backpack style pumps are far different than the huge pumps of the past that didn't allow mobility, but the modern version is the not the end all. Hanes' artificial heart buys him time.
"It feels different, but I'm alive."
The 64 year old's heart had essentially failed. This breakthrough surgery gave him more time to wait for a donor heart, which can take up to 5 years.
"I'm not used to the noise yet, but having my wife over the noise makes it worthwhile, it doesn't matter."
Hanes says he wants to get back to gardening as he waits for the call to prepare for a heart transplant. And the couple says they're ready for whatever life has in store.
"Yes, our life is going to change, it's a new way of living," says Hanes' wife, "But we're prepared for that and we're happy that we have more time together."