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Louth man Dessie McFadden among first to receive heart transplant 32 years ago


The late Dessie McFadden, who had a heart transplant in 1990.

The late Dessie McFadden, who had a heart transplant in 1990.

The late Dessie McFadden, who had a heart transplant in 1990.


The death took place at last Friday in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda of Dessie McFadden from the Doylesfort Road.

In May 1990 the 53-year-old Dundalk man became one of Ireland’s earliest recipients of a heart transplant  Just ten days later he was sitting up in bed in the intensive care ward of the Mater Hospital and gave a big thumbs up for a photographer. “It’s amazing what they can do these days” said the father of two daughters, Arlene and Naomi.

Speaking to The Argus again eight months after his transplant, he said, “I feel a million dollars”

Prior to his life-saving operation Dessie had been told by cardiologists in the Mater Hospital that he only two years to live, but that his heart was so weak that it could give in at any moment and that the transplant was his only option.

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"I look forward to everything now, going for a drive in the car, a walk collecting the children from school, now I know that life is worth living”.

"I was very nervous and very worried about the operation to begin with, and even when it was over and was a success I still had to cope with having someone else’s heart”, he said in that 1991 interview.

That day he was very content with his lot, “Life is definitely worth living”, he said, “I have learned this from my transplant experience”.

"These days I get up every morning and think how lucky I am to be alive”.

He was predeceased by his parents John and Mary and sisters and brothers Mary, John, Eileen, Patsy, Luke, Jim and Annie. He will be sadly missed by his beloved wife Mary, daughters Arlene and Naomi, sons-in-law John and Adrian, grandchildren Katie, Emily and Charlotte, sister Ita (Dullaghan), sisters-in-law Mena, Josie, Joan and Teresa, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

HIs funeral took place on Monday at 11am, to St. Brigid’s Church, Kilcurry, via Annies, Kilcurry and to St. Patrick’s Cemetery for burial.