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Man Leaves Hospital With Fully Artificial Heart In Place

OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) -- A 64-year-old retired letter carrier from Monee left Advocate Christ Medical Center under his own power Thursday, carrying a small suitcase that replaced his heart.

As WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports, a whirring sound marks the presence of a device called a Freedom Driver, which is allowing Leroy Haynes to go home with a totally artificial heart.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports


"I am truly amazed," Haynes said. "I am truly blessed."

Haynes is part of a clinical study – patient number 49 – but he is not feeling like a number.

"I'm first giving honor to God, who I truly believe resides at Advocate Christ Medical Center," he said.

Haynes stood and thanked his large medical team, who stood assembled to see him off.

"From the bottom of my heart," he joked.

Haynes' artificial heart is noisy, he conceded. But he has still got his wife, Pat, to whom he has been married 42 years.

"This is truly a day that the Lord has made," Pat Haynes said.

Dr. Michael Bresticker, one of the cardiac surgeons, says Haynes can wait some time for a transplant.

"Obviously the sooner the better," he said, "but certainly, people have lived several years with these things in place."

"It feels different," added Haynes, "but I'm alive."

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