PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A retired baker and Vietnam veteran who was the world's fifth recipient of a self-contained artificial heart has died, almost 10 months after being implanted with the device.
Doctors at Hahnemann University Hospital said they were unsuccessful in improving James Quinn's condition after he suffered a stroke last week. He was withdrawn from life support Monday.
"In every aspect, James Quinn was a hero," said Dr. Louis Samuels, director of the surgical team that installed the heart. "He fulfilled his wish to be a pioneer, to live a little longer to see his grandchildren, and to contribute something to mankind."
Of the seven people implanted with the device beginning more than a year ago, only one is still alive.
Quinn, 52, was implanted with the AbioCor heart on Nov. 5. One month later, he walked without assistance into a news conference, a small battery pack on a belt around his waist the only evidence of his transplant.
The West Philadelphia man suffered a stroke in December but was strong enough to be moved the following month from the hospital to a nearby hotel suite, allowing his wife to stay with him and caregivers in an adjoining room to monitor his condition.
He was taken back to the hospital Feb. 3 after developing breathing difficulties, which turned into pneumonia.
In the months before he died, Quinn was able to take several excursions from the hospital to attend church, go home for his wedding anniversary, visit family and friends -- and even go to a comedy club.
"To me, it was either do or die. There really wasn't much to think about," Quinn said.
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