Ann Harrison (lung transplant recipient)
Ann Harrison (September 24, 1944 – April 20, 2001) was the recipient of the world's first successful human double lung transplant. She survived for almost fifteen years after the surgery and died of unrelated causes.
Harrison suffered from end-stage emphysema and thoracic surgeon Joel D. Cooper had told her that without surgery, she had only a few months to live. The operation was performed at Toronto General Hospital on November 26, 1986 when she received the lungs of an 18-year-old Kingston, Ontario native who had recently died in a car accident. Cooper had previously successfully performed a single lung transplant on pulmonary fibrosis victim Tom Hall on November 7, 1983, but this was the first successful double lung transplant.
Ann Harrison died at Toronto General Hospital on April 20, 2001 of a brain aneurysm unrelated to her operation at the age 56. She was the world's longest surviving double-lung recipient until her 15-year record was broken in 2005 by still thriving cystic fibrosis patient and transplant recipient Howell Graham of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Her surgeon Dr Joel Cooper in a eulogy said of her, "Ann began a new era, one that has brought immense relief to emphysema patients. Having received this gift, she became a den mother for so many other patients, encouraging them in their quest, celebrating with them their victories, and consoling them and their families in their losses.” Dr Cooper shows a picture of Ann Harrison every time he lectures on transplantation and says, “I still marvel when someone so close to death is returned to a vigorous life.”
- The man who gives the gift of breath Toronto Star, January 27, 2014
- On This Day in History, A look at what happened on previous November 26ths The Vancouver Sun, November 19, 2013
- Lung Transplantation Turns 30: Joel Cooper performed world's first successful double lung transplant on an Alpha COPD Digest, May 23, 2013
- First double-lung transplant recipient dies, Canadian Medical Association Journal May 29, 2001, vol 164 no 11
- Early double-lung transplant patient celebrates 20 years of breathing free by Vicky Eckenrode, Star-News, October 7, 2010