Tributes as Newport heart op student, 23, loses fight for life
9:40am Tuesday 25th September 2012 in News
A YOUNG student who underwent a heart transplant three years ago has died.
Matthew Lammas, 23, of Newport, had begun to look to the future after his operation in January 2009 – getting engaged and taking up an art and design course.
But after a short period of feeling unwell, Mr Lammas was hospitalised last week and died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Saturday.
It is thought by his family that he died of heart failure, but the precise cause was not yet known yesterday.
His mother Helen Nutman, a lecturer at the same college that her son studied at, Pontypool campus of Coleg Gwent, said: “Wewere really grateful to the donor that gave his heart to him.
“He had a future he couldn’t have had before.”
Mr Lammas was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at a young age – a condition that causes the heart to swell and fail that had been managed with tablets and later a pacemaker.
But by 2008 his heart started to fail and doctors told him he had months for doctors to find a suitable match for a heart transplant.
Mrs Nutman said the transplant, carried out at the Birmingham hospital, made a huge difference to her son.
“He had a much better life than in the years before his transplant. He had more energy. He had a future.”
Mr Lammas, who had to take anti-rejection drugs to manage the transplant, began to make plans, getting engaged to his partner Kelly and joining a BTEC art and design course.
The keen fisherman and guitarist hoped to get married in two years, and the couple had begun looking at venues for the wedding.
“He had amazing friends,”
said Mrs Nutman. “They have given him fantastic support.
“They were all texting him while he was in hospital. He was highly thought of.”
However on Wednesday Mr Lammas, who grewup in Trellech in Monmouthshire, went to accident and emergency at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
On Friday morning the family were told that his heart had collapsed, and Mr Lammas was taken to Birmingham on Saturday where he later died.
Step-father Jon Nutman said: “It was a shock to everybody. He had been managing it and was well.”
Funeral details are yet to be announced.
MP shocked over death
MATTHEW’S MP yesterday paid tribute to him, saying his death was a reminder of the need for urgent reform of the organ donation system.
Around a year ago Matthew Lammas went to speak at the Houses of Parliament to a group of MPs about his story, speaking in favour of a system of opt-out organ donation and how it was important others had the chance he had.
His brother Will, 25, suffers from the same condition and although it is not as severe as Matthew’s was, he could need a transplant in the future.
Newport West MP Paul Flynn, who spoke about Mr Lammas in a parliamentary debate last year, said he was shocked and upset to hear the news. He said: “There was no bitterness or self-pity from him about the way an inefficient organ transfer system had added so cruelly to his problems.”
He said opponents of an opt-out system – proposed for Wales – would put aside their objections if they could see “the way that this poor young man had suffered and his family had suffered”.