Concerns about medical standards have resurfaced after Penge man Ron Hammond came around from a routine heart transplant operation to find that instead of a brand new heart, he had instead been fitted with a full-size Wurlitzer organ in his chest cavity.
‘When I first saw him in post-op everything seemed alright,’ said his wife, Edith, ‘but you get an instinct about these things and I knew something was wrong when he came round and, instead of speaking, he just smiled weakly and pitifully played the theme from ‘Casualty’.’
Surgeons are now considering using a completely synthesised heart in place of a transplanted organ, building on work by a pioneer in the field, Dr Robert Moog.
Meanwhile Mrs Hammond is planning to take her husband to the coast to convalesce for a few weeks. ‘He keeps piping up with ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’, so I’m taking him to Brighton for a few days,’ explained Edith. ‘Then after that, he will be appearing at Whitstable, Worthing and Lyme Regis.’