Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundland artist Peter Lewis receives heart transplant in Ottawa

About six months after relocating to Ottawa to wait for a new heart, artist and gallery owner Peter Lewis got the call he'd been waiting for, his sister says.

Lewis, who moved to Ottawa in January to await a transplant, went into surgery early Monday morning

Peter Lewis owns a gallery in downtown St. John's and is an impressionist painter. (Submitted by Tracey Shave)

About six months after moving to Ottawa to await a heart transplant, Peter Lewis got the news he and his family had been waiting for.

"He got his call last night," his sister, Leah Lewis, told CBC's Crosstalk on Monday.

"He has had his surgery, and the heart started beating on the table, and we're all just overwhelmed with excitement." 

Lewis, the owner of the Peter Lewis Gallery in St. John's, had to relocate to Ottawa in January as he awaited a new organ. With no heart transplant centre in the Atlantic region, candidates from Newfoundland and Labrador are treated by the Heart Institute in Ottawa.

Lewis, who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy more than nine years ago, was permanently attached to an intravenous drip delivering medication as he awaited surgery.

He got the call for that surgery Sunday evening, Leah Lewis said, and went into the operating room at about 3 a.m. Monday. 

Her brother is out of surgery and recovering in the intensive-care unit, where he is expected to spend the next several days. 

"By all accounts he's doing very well," she said.

Lewis, seen here in March 2019, received therapy and treatment at the Heart Institute while he was waiting for the call. (Submitted by Tracey Shave)

There isn't an exact number, but more than 100 people in the province are believed to be waiting for a transplant, said Jonathan Hickman, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Canadian Transplant Association.

In Newfoundland and Labrador you can opt into being an organ donor through MCP. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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