Double heart transplant man found dead

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IOL  SS_Paul John Thesen0


Paul Thesen, the worlds longest-surviving heart transplant patient, has died in mysterious circumstances. File photo: Matthew Jordaan

Eastern Cape -

The world’s longest-surviving heart transplant patient has died in mysterious circumstances in the Eastern Cape.


Paul John Thesen, 48, a member of the prominent Knysna Thesen family, was found dead in his car on Thursday, near the town of Alexandria, according to his friend and executor Paddy Chapple.

Chapple said Thesen had been admitted to an unnamed hospital five days ago after crashing his beach buggy.

He had checked himself out of hospital and had only been seen again when his body was found.


Chapple said Thesen had three hearts during his lifetime – his own, then his first donor heart from a young black man at the age of 13, and his second donor heart from a young white girl when he was 16.

Chapple said the donor colour was significant because

Thesen apparently lay on the operating table for four hours while the cabinet discussed the race issue.

It was apparently decided that when the heart left the body, it “became neutral”, and that Thesen’s classification remained white. His original heart is on display at Groote Schuur Hospital’s transplant museum.

Both pioneer surgeon Chris Barnard and his brother Marius performed the transplants.


Weekend Argus

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