Dr. Wozniak: A Man of History

A question was asked at a recent gathering of the IU Health Heart and Lung Transplant Support Group.

“How many people in the room had Dr. Thomas Wozniak as their surgeon?” Hands shot up throughout the room.

“He saved my life,” came a voice from the back. Heads nodded and applause followed. One woman asked to take his picture and others simply listened and smiled as Wozniak spoke.

The director of IU Health Thoracic Transplantation, Wozniak spent a recent Monday evening with several of his transplant patients talking about the history of a profession he loves. They were part of that history.

“The most important part of this history is the patients,” said Wozniak. “I’ve been at the same job since I completed my training, so I guess that makes me a little bit of a dinosaur but it also means I’ve met a lot of great people, doing what I’ve been trained to do.”

Following are a few facts he shared with the group that meets the fourth Monday of each month at Methodist Hospital:

  • In 1982 Dr. Harold Halbrook performed Indiana’s first heart transplant on Annie Gardner, a 38-year-old Crawfordsville woman who suffered from cardiomyopathy—a hereditary deterioration of the heart muscle—at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Since 1982, 827 heart transplants have been performed on patients from Methodist and Riley Hospitals.
  • In 1989 Methodist Hospital performed the first lung transplant. To date there have been 896 lung transplants at Methodist.
  • Methodist Hospital – recognized as the 12th largest program in the country – performs roughly 61 transplants a year.
  • IU Health has performed 1,723 heart and lung transplants to date.

-- T.J. Banes

More on Dr. Wozniak:

The Hail Mary That Saved A Coach’s LifeDavid Priestley was at end-stage heart failure, a 37-year-old football and baseball coach, a father and a husband.  A guy with a wicked sens

10 Things You Don’t Know About: Dr. Thomas Wozniak - “Dr. Woz” leads a team of highly-trained surgeons that often race against time and state lines to find organs for patients who need life-saving heart and lung transplants.

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