Artificial heart patient William Schroeder, set back by strokes, fever and discouragement, has undergone a "dramatic improvement" and might be well enough to leave the hospital next week, a hospital spokesman said today.
Dr. Allan M. Lansing's assessment was a complete turnabout from Monday, when he said Schroeder was so ill and low in spirits he might never leave the Humana Hospital Audubon. Lansing said his new assessment was prompted by complaints from Schroeder's family and doctor over his earlier negative comments.
Meanwhile, artificial heart recipient No. 3, Murray Haydon, who got a plastic-and-metal mechanical heart Sunday, continued his smooth recovery, Lansing said, except that he had become fatigued by the effort required to sit up in bed.
Two Might Become Friends
One of Haydon's sons-in-law joked that Haydon and Schroeder might become friends and "play cards, or run down the hall and have races."
Under repeated questioning from reporters, Lansing said the new assessment of Schroeder's outlook was "dramatically different from what I said Monday morning because there has been a dramatic improvement in his condition."
On Monday, Lansing said Schroeder "appears to be withdrawn" and was "very weak, tired and discouraged." His strokes had affected his short-term memory. A summary of Lansing's remarks released by the hospital said Schroeder's illness "has raised doubts in the minds of the medical staff about whether he will be able to leave the hospital."
Can Say Complicated Words
Lansing said today that Schroeder had begun initiating conversations and was talking more. "He has been able to say today certain more complicated words, like Mississippi," Lansing said.
"He is laughing more, he is interrelating to the environment more. I think this indicates marked improvements in his spirits," Lansing said.
He said his remarks Monday prompted Dr. William C. DeVries, the artificial heart surgeon, to get "mad at me," and disturbed Schroeder's family.
Lansing said he thinks Schroeder might be able to attend the March 16 wedding of his son Terry in Schroeder's home town of Jasper, Ind., 75 miles away.