'Bionic Heart' Implant- First In Richmond

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

Posted by Sean Van Damme

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A medical breakthrough in our own backyard -- a local man receives Richmond's first 'bionic heart' implant. It's the first of its kind at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital. It's just one of five community hospitals in the U.S. to ever perform this kind of implantation.

Amelia resident, 53-year-old Wesley Farnsworth worked his own chimney cleaning business and was a volunteer fire fighter for over 30 years. He said, he believed he was invincible.

"I always promised my children I was going to live a long time to really worry them to death," said Farnsworth.

But with a 90 percent heart failure after a heart attack in April, his chances of a long life quickly came to a halt.

"I had just be patient and I've cried a lot, I've prayed a lot and asked God to have his way and have His will," said his wife Anita Farnsworth.

Doctor Marc Katz performed this particular surgery for the first time at St. Mary's. He credits his team of nurses for its success. The little device has now taken over the job pumping Farnsworth's heart. This implant weighs just ounces, compared to the older version that weighed 3 pounds.

"I was scared, I was more scared for my family, then I was for myself, I'm a big boy always thought I was strong enough to, this would never happen to me," said Farnsworth.

Wearing what doctors say is a lighter version of the old battery pack, Farnsworth and Anita left the hospital in style, with an entourage of doctors and a stretch limo waiting to take them home.

"I look forward to going home and getting some rest," said Farnsworth.

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