Recipient of Long Island’s first heart transplant describes her journey

THE ISLAND NOW | Rebecca Klar
Yvonne Fleming, a 63-year-old from Brooklyn, shared her experience as the recipient of the first heart transplant on Long Island at a press conference on Thursday when she was being discharged from North Shore University Hospital. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Yvonne Fleming thanked North Shore University Hospital from the bottom of her heart.

Actually, upon correction, she thanked them from the very top of her new heart.

“I am truly grateful. When I look down I couldn’t see my heart beat before,” Fleming said. “After the operation when I saw my heart go boom boom, that feeling was so … beautiful that I can’t describe it to you.”

Fleming, a 63-year-old from Brooklyn, was the recipient of Long Island’s first heart transplant surgery.

Along with her team of doctors, Fleming explained the journey she went on – one that started with an unexpected heart attack in November and led her to her Northwell Health transplant team – during a press conference at the hospital on Thursday.

Fleming’s team of doctors included Dr. Gerin Stevens, medical director of the transplant program, Dr. Brian Lima, surgical director of the transplant program and Dr. Syed Hussain, the hospital’s lead heart procurement surgeon who was responsible for removing and transporting the donor heart. Continue reading

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