Historic Heart-Pump Patient Dies
After his heart failed, Jim Laswell lived for six additional years. Six years that Laswell's wife Mattie says were filled with great family milestones.
"He went down the aisle in a wheelchair with his daughter to be married. He'd seen several things happen in our family that was wonderful, and that made him happy because to him that was what life was all about, was family," said Mattie Laswell.
Jim died this week. Six years ago, after heart failure, he was outfitted with a V-core heart pump. Laswell's heart pump was inserted at Barnes Jewish Hospital in Saint Louis.
"Basically, it draws off the blood from the main pumping chamber to the body, because that main chamber is weak, this device draws it off and pumps it for it," said Dr. Michael Pasque with Barnes Jewish Hospital.
The device, Jim's lifeline, was hooked to a battery he carried in a black bag, taking it with him wherever he went.
Mattie says she thought she'd lose her husband before he received the pump. She says it saved his life.
"And within three days after the pump was put in, he was having a good complexion again, he looked like he had put on weight, he just looked 100 percent better," said Laswell.
But, after six years with the device, Jim's body couldn't fight anymore. The black bag will be by his side when he is laid to rest.