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Derrick Morris
Heart Transplant 23rd February 1980

Sadly Derrick died in August 2005, he was one of the longest survivng heart recipients.
Over 25years post transplant

Derrick MorrisHowever, the record, for him, was a source of delight and sadness: "It is fantastic, unbelievable, that 25 marvellous years – over a quarter of my life - have been given to me. 

But I derive no pleasure from the fact that others have died for me to attain the record; I'd far rather they were still here." 

Derrick was 74 and fit as a fiddle. About six years ago he retired from his job as a cargo supervisor at Swansea docks. 

On February 23, 1980, Derrick was given the heart of a 26year-old woman who had died in an accident. The pioneering operation which was the 3rd at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex - was carried out by Mr. Magdi Yacoub, now a renowned professor and a Sir. 

Derrick said: "I suffered my first heart attack in 1975 and was off work for six months. During the next four years my condition steadily worsened. My GP referred me to the National Heart Hospital in London. There they discovered an aneurism on the left side of my heart. It was a balloon of blood and the least exertion could have burst it and I would have been dead. In truth, I never thought I would die.

" I believed some sort of miracle operation would save me." 

But when Professor Yacoub's registrar asked: "Have you thought of a heart transplant?" I said: "Good Lord, no." At that time they were so rare they still made headline news.

We were told of the dangers. Because transplant work was in its infancy, the chances of: survival were slim; about 15 or 20%. But I decided for the families sake I would go ahead.

So a suitable match was found and the four and a half hour operation took place. Derrick said: When I came round and felt no pain I asked whether I'd actually had the operation. Then I said: "How did the Swans get on today?" I was an avid follower of Swansea Football Club and they told me they'd won, 1-0. The next thing I saw from the window was this marvellous bed of golden daffodils hundreds of them. For a Welshman, particularly, it was glorious.

In those early days of transplant surgery convalescence went on for months. For 13 weeks Derrick lived in a sterile bubble. His food was presented to him in sealed parcels and the walls and floor of his germ-free hospital room were disinfected three times daily. 

'When I finally got back to Swansea I was asked what I wanted  to do. I said: "Go back to work." And that's what I did. 

Derrick had never smoked; he drinks only moderately but believes stress contributed to his illness. I was a worrier,' he says, 

'but now I don't fret about anything.'


I met Derrick at Harefield shortly after my transplant, we chatted for a while wished each other the best of health and then said good bye.

On Derrick's 20th anniversary Harefield put on a small party for him at the hospital. As he was the 3rd person to have a transplant at Harefield, his anniversary coincides with their transplant program anniversary.

Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub and some of the original nursing staff also attended the party.

Derrick's story is a great encouragement to me, I can now only dream about making 25years post heart transplant and still be as fit and well as he was.

I meet Derrick again in 2004, he told me the saddest thing about his transplant was losting his wife. He never imagined he would ever out live her.

I then met him again in the summer of 2005 at a garden party in Harefiled which was to celebrate 25years of transplantation. Derrick looked fit and well, we had a nice chat and he spent sometime talking to Jan my wife.

Derrick-John 2005

Sadly he deid about 2 weeks after that party and this photo was taken, I owe a lot to Derrick for his advice and guidance.

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