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Gloomy News on Schroeder Has ‘Beneficial’ Effect With AM-Artificial Heart

February 20, 1985

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Dr. Allan M. Lansing said Tuesday the angry reaction to his gloomy public prediction for William J. Schroeder was ″very beneficial″ for the family of the artificial heart recipient.

But Lansing said he gave ″an accurate report″ during the briefing for reporters Monday and that some ruffled feathers were ″unavoidable.″

Lansing said Schroeder’s family and surgeon, Dr. William DeVries, were aghast upon hearing him saying he was concerned about Schroeder’s future and ″he might not make it out of (the) hospital and, if he lost his spirit, he might die.″

″That upset them and (DeVries) couldn’t understand why I was saying these things,″ said Lansing, medical spokesman for the surgical team that implanted Schroeder’s Jarvik-7 heart Nov. 25 at Humana Hospital Audubon.

There was discussion about whether Schroeder, who suffered three strokes on Dec. 13, was adversely affected by his family’s distress, Lansing said.

″I gave you an accurate report and that upset the Schroeders and indirectly upset Bill. I think it was unavoidable,″ Lansing said.

But his comments ″precipitated a lot more interchange″ among family members and hospital personnel ″and was very beneficial indirectly - harmful at the time, harmful to me, but turned out to be beneficial.″

Schroeder was wheeled outside the hospital for the first time Tuesday, sitting in sunshine for about 15 minutes.

Everyone’s outlook had improved because the family had ″come to grips with the problems of the press and the interest″ in Schroeder, Lansing said.

Also, Schroeder himself ″has been progressively better, so there’s less to worry about,″ Lansing said.

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