Disheartening News for Historic Transplant Patient - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Disheartening News for Historic Transplant Patient

There's been a major setback in what was considered to be a medical breakthrough. 59-year-old Robert Tools had a stroke on Sunday, but he's still alive and doctors are holding out hope he'll get better.

When Robert Tools went into surgery July second, doctors didn't know if they would ever see him walk into his own press conference, but they did. At the press conference, Tools said, "I had no choice really. I could sit at home and die or I could take a chance." Tools wasn't at his doctor's side Wednesday. He was in the hospital, recovering from a stroke that left his right leg and arm paralyzed. Dr. Lamon Gray said, "This is a highly experimental procedure and all of us realize there's risks involved and there's a lot of unknowns. Unknowns that include why Tools had the stroke, if he will ever get feeling back in his right side, and if he'll ever be able to talk again. Despite the stroke, doctors say Tools condition over the last several weeks is still better than they ever expected. Dr. Gray says, "His nutritional status is finally starting to get back to normal, and he's gaining weight. He's gained about 10 to 15 pounds over the last couple of weeks. I think it's important he's gained a quality of life. His wife and family feel he has gained a huge amount and is now able to have an enjoyable life."

Since Robert Tools' transplant, four other people have gotten the AbioCor artificial hearts. One of the patients has had a few setbacks, but overall doctors say they're all doing pretty well.

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