Critically ill teen Geelong fan who’d been hospitalised since last year’s grand final makes Aussie medical history by using artificial heart machine to meet his Cats heroes
- Teenager was fitted with Berlin Heart
- Revolutionary technology used for heart donor patients
- Cats were inspired by his bravery in win
A critically ill teenager has been able to leave hospital for the first time in 243 days to see his beloved Geelong Cats play thanks to the assistance of an artificial heart.
Angus Dennis-Hewitt was at last year’s AFL grand final to watch his Cats claim the premiership but has been bedridden at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital ever since.
The 17-year-old has staved off death thanks in part to the life-saving ‘Berlin Heart’ technology, which made it possible for him to leave the hospital to watch Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
A Berlin Heart is a ventricular assist device that aids patients with severe heart failure by supporting their weakened heart’s pumping function.
It is an external, mechanical pump that has to be connected to the patient’s circulatory system – and Dennis-Hewitt became the first Australian to leave hospital while being kept alive by one.
Angus had not left hospital in 243 days but was able to meet all of his Geelong heroes in the sheds thanks to a revolutionary piece of technology
Angus got to meet several Geelong stars including Irishman Zach Tuohy (pictured) before the match against the Western Bulldogs
Angus is pictured with the Berlin Heart, a mechanical pump that helps with his blood flow and allowed him to leave hospital for the first time since last year’s grand final
The Berlin Heart is often used as a temporary solution for patients awaiting a heart transplant, bridging the gap until a suitable donor heart becomes available.
‘I came in for a routine heart operation,’ Angus said during the Good Friday Appeal in September.
‘Five open-heart surgeries later, here I am with these machines.’
Dennis-Hewitt was welcomed into the Geelong sheds prior to the match along with his mother and father, where he was introduced by Cats champion Tom Stewart.
‘The effort that Angus is going through right now is nothing short of extraordinary,’ Stewart told his teammates before the game.
‘To have you here, mate, it is actually an honour.
‘When I first met you, you had a real impact on me. To see you here tonight, it’s really special.’
Stewart channeled Dennis-Hewitt’s bravery to help inspire the Cats to a vital 22-point win over the Dogs to cement their place in the top eight.
‘The week we’ve had, we talk about being a bit daring, a bit brave [on the field],’ he said.
‘If this isn’t the epitome of bravery, I don’t know what is.’
Tom Stewart celebrates a goal after the Cats drew inspiration from Angus’ bravery during his medical battles
Cats head coach Chris Scott congratulates Stewart after the 22-point win over the Bulldogs, which has Geelong back in the top eight
Dennis-Hewitt’s father Jeremy spoke with pride about his son’s bravery.
‘He’s the absolute star of the show,’ he said.
‘We’re so deeply proud of our courageous son.’
His mother Jenny told the Cats players of the link they share with her boy.
‘The last game Angus was at, you guys won the grand final,’ she said.
Stewart first met Dennis-Hewitt during the Good Friday Appeal last year and has since promised him tickets to any Cats game he can attend.
‘As soon as you need tickets, let me know,’ he said.
‘I’ll get you the best tickets I can.’