In one of the strangest reunions ever, a woman recently visited a museum to examine her heart, which was removed from her body during a life-saving transplant surgery 16 years ago. Jennifer Sutton, who hails from Ringwood in Hampshire, stated that it was “incredibly surreal” to see her organ placed as an exhibit at Hunterian Museum in London.
The Hunterian is named after surgeon John Hunter, an 18th-century Scottish physician who honed his skill by dissecting thousands of corpses. The museum’s exhibitions include a skull collection and specimens of various diseases, including anthrax and cholera. The heart is an exciting item the public can view and learn about.
To perform a heart transplant, doctors first remove the patient’s current organ, which is still beating, from its blood vessels and connect it with a donor’s healthy, donated organ. The procedure is performed while the patient is on a heart-lung machine, and doctors use a cut made in the center of the chest to connect the arteries and veins.
Once the transplant is complete, the patient can live normally with her new organ. However, she will need to be monitored regularly by doctors, who will test the health of her heart and lungs. She will also have to take several medications and other drugs that help keep her body healthy, avoid infections, and prevent the rejection of her new heart.
Before her transplant, Jennifer Sutton suffered from restrictive cardiomyopathy, making the heart stiff and unable to pump blood properly. The disease caused her to suffer from breathlessness, and she struggled to walk up hills. She was placed on the transplant list in 2007 and received a new heart in June.
After her operation, Jennifer Sutton embraced her post-transplant life and continued working as a park ranger and hiking with her husband. She says that her transplant was the greatest gift she’s ever received and hopes that her story will encourage more people to become organ donors.
Jennifer Sutton, 38, consented to display her heart at the Hunterian Museum in London because she wants to inspire others and raise awareness about organ donation. She says her new heart allows her to pursue many different passions, including hiking and volunteering in the community. She says that she is committed to keeping her transplanted heart healthy and plans to live every moment to the fullest.