Fiona Coote

“St Vincent’s saved my life”

In 1984 Fiona Coote, a healthy 14 year-old, was struck down by a viral infection that irreversibly weakened her heart. She was kept alive on total life support until Dr Victor Chang performed a successful heart transplant at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. Two years later, as her new heart began to fail, Fiona underwent a second heart transplant at St Vincent’s. Today Fiona is the longest surviving heart transplant recipient in Australia and is living a full and happy life.

Back then, transplantation was a fledgling field of medicine. At the time of Fiona’s trailblazing operation there was no government funding for the essential anti-rejection drugs used after a transplantation. Only community support enabled St Vincent’s to fund this life-saving medicine which ultimately launched the Heart Lung Transplant Program that saved Fiona’s life.

To mark the 30th anniversary of Fiona’s pioneering treatment, the Foundation launched the St Vincent’s Heart Lung Innovation Fund. This $15 million Fund will support translational research, surgical and interventional trials to improve treatments for people living with heart and lung disease and ensure St Vincent’s remains a world leader at the forefront of cardiothoracic care.