One of Arizona’s star medical devices got top billing last month when Bill Wohl, who owes his life to the CardioWest artificial heart in Tucson, was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine.
The Jan. 7 issue of the recently-resurrected weekly featured the result of a different sort of resurrection: a successful heart transplant patient in the form of brawny Bill Wohl and the headline, “Would you believe this man’s had three hearts?”
The CardioWest device, the second of Wohl’s three, was named the top advance in cardiac medicine last year by the American Heart Association, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Wohl, who told LIFE that the device sounded like a washing-machine as it pumped his blood, was sustained by the device for 159 days at the University Medical Center in Tucson before he received an organ transplant – his third heart.
Since that transplant in February 2000, Bill has become an athlete and an activist for heart health, winning medals at international transplant games in cycling, swimming, and track events and setting up the Bill Wohl Foundation.
“I have no business being here,” Wohl told the Star. “I’m sort of like the cockroach that survives after the atom bomb.”
For more information:
“Plastic heart from UMC helped build an ironman,” Arizona Daily Star, 2/03/2005