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Peter Allinson
Domino Heart Transplant January 21st 2001

This is an orthotopic transplant performed using a heart which has come from a patient undergoing a combined heart and lung transplant for lung disease. The hearts are normal but have slightly thickened right side which is accustomed to pumping against a slightly higher pressure in the lungs as a result of lung disease. These hearts are often used for patients with slightly higher pressure in the lungs.

Heart to Heart
Peter & James
Peter Allinson & James Baxter
Heart & Heart/lung transplant
January 21st 2001

These two friends have a very special bond. In the chest of Peter Allinson beats the heart that once belonged to James Baxter. James in turn, owes his life to a heart and lungs transplant from another donor.

Peter and James realised their extraordinary tie after a chance meeting as both awaited routine out-patient appointments. Nine months earlier Peter 33, had received James's heart after his own failed due to a viral infection. On the same day James 28, had been given a new heart and lungs from an unidentified donor in a last-ditched bid to treat his cystic fibrosis.

Peter recalled meeting James in a waiting room at Harefield Hospital. We started talking and James said he'd had his operation on the same day as me. He told me it was a heart and lungs, and bells started ringing for both of us. We both then knew he was my donor. He stood up and said "You've got my heart". And we both sat there for three minutes looking at each other. We were stunned.

Peter AllinsonThe new friends are both now training for the transplant games

Peter's lapse into critical ill health was sudden. He had been a super-fit tri-athlete but in October 2000 began to feel unwell. He went to the doctors and it turned out his blood pressure was absurdly low. Tests revealed serious heart problems and follow-up investigations at Harefield Heart Hospital showed that a viral infection had caused heart failure.

Peter was put on the transplant list and on January 21 2001 the phone rang and he was told a heart was available. It was 9pm and Peter's wife had to phone a relative to come over and baby sit for their nine-month-old son. They drove to hospital and Peter thinks Anita his wife was more nervous than he was. 

Just by coincidence Peter lives less than 5 miles from my house and we quite often bump into each other at the hospital.


James was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was aged two. He managed to live a relatively normal life until his teens, but then a series of severe infections destroyed his lungs. By his mid-20's doctors said a heart and lung transplant was the only way to save him.

James was taken to the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea where a possible heart and lung match had become available. James went into surgery while his father, mother and 23 year old fiancée Natalie waited. Surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub began the delicate five hour operation to remove James's heart and lungs and replace them with the donor organs of someone who had just died.

James was given a new heart along with new lungs because when lungs alone are transplanted the patient tends to do less well. James said he noticed an immediate change after the operation and that he could now breath and walk properly.

Peter's operation also went well, but some complications meant he had to spend two months in intensive care. He has now made a full recovery. Then two months later the two met by chance, they now speak to each other on the phone on a regular basis.

Peter can recall saying "Thanks for the heart" back in the patients waiting room. "It seemed in adequate but what else could I say?"

James's heart and lungs came from a 27 year old man who had a brain hemorrhage and came from Wales.

Thanks to the gift of life that young man made at least two lives have been saved.

God bless all donors and their families, for they have given a gift to a complete stranger and expect nothing in return.

Peter and James take part in the Transplant European Games

James came forth but his heart came second and won the Bronze Medal.James & Peter

Swimmer Peter Allison just beat James Baxter in the 50 meters freestyle race in the Transplant European Games 2003. Although Peter may have won the bronze medal James is claiming full credit for it, James said he is really pleased to see his heart doing so well but he intends to beat it next time out.

They both feel their transplant story is fascinating, as sadly few donors get to live to meet the person their organs go to. They hope that by telling it they will raise transplant and donor awareness, which in turn could go on to save even more lives.

Emma Grace George
Heart transplant 2nd October aged 4 months
Emma Grace George

"Then the call came. October 2nd, 12:47 AM.... "Mrs. George, this is the transplant coordinator, we have a match!" My heart stopped... and I cried, not only for the gift of life that was now available for my child, but for the loss of life that had to occur in order for Emma Grace to live. I think about that family daily... I praise God for their strength... I pray He blesses them in ways they will never understand...Because of them my daughter is alive."

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