Visiting your very own heart in a museum? That sounds impossible, but a British woman has had the scoop. She visited her old body part in a museum in London. “Incredibly surreal,” she says.
It could be the beginning of a puzzle. How can one visit his or her own heart alive? The BBC has the answer and reveals how 38-year-old Jennifer Sutton managed to visit her own heart, which she has not had for sixteen years, in the museum.
For anyone who has not yet managed to solve the riddle: the key word is organ donation. The ancient woman’s heart has always been preserved and can be seen in the Hunterian Museum in the English capital. The body part is exhibited there to draw attention to organ donation. Jennifer Sutton herself has benefited a lot from that.
Life-saving surgery for heart patient
The British woman was just in her 20s and had started studying when she noticed that she was having more and more trouble moving. She was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. This is a rare condition that limits the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. The doctors told her she would die if she didn’t get a transplant.
While on the waiting list, the woman’s health deteriorated. But she got good news: a match had been found. That wasn’t the only cause for joy, though. The woman also had fear for a sad reason: her mother had died during a transplant operation. Nevertheless, she underwent the life-saving operation, in which her own heart was replaced with someone else’s.
‘Jeez, that used to be in my body’
“I remember waking up after the transplant and thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually a new person,’” she says. “I remember doing a thumbs up dance for my family. Then I yelled, ‘I made it, I made it!’”
She gave permission to a professional association of doctors to use her ‘old’ heart for an exhibition. Now, 16 years later, the body part is on public display at the museum in London. She herself has already visited her body part, which is in a jar. “The moment you first enter, you think: ‘Jeez, that used to be in my body’. I’ve seen a lot of things in jars in my life, but it’s really weird to think this is really mine.”
Photograph of Jennifer Sutton looking at her own heart pic.twitter.com/PSwkpaZ9Rn
— OKO (@oko_magazine) March 19, 2018
She wouldn’t have lived without another heart
The woman says to the BBC that the museum exhibiting her heart is ‘the greatest gift ever’. “I see it a bit as my friend. The heart has kept me alive for 22 years and I am actually quite proud of that.” She fully supports the goal of the museum’s exhibition, which is to promote organ donation.
The British refers to the fact that without the heart of another, she would never have married or experienced other fantastic moments in her life. “I have had 16 fantastic years. I wouldn’t have had it without my donor. I am very busy, I am active and I keep this heart as healthy as possible. I want to keep myself going for as long as possible.”
There are often remarkable stories from British media. So wrote Subway at the beginning of this month another story about a British woman’s search for a man who had impregnated her after a one-night stand on holiday in Spain. She wanted to tell him he’s going to be a daddy.
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Patient sees her very own heart in a museum