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September 28 , 2007

The Other Princess Diane

A Story of Valiant Perseverance Against Medical Odds


Most readers are familiar with the "real Princess Diana." This book is about a courageous woman, Diane Cummings, who was the first person with the Tetralogy of Fallot (a congenital heart defect) to be operated upon by Dr. Willis J. Potts in 1946. He was the pioneer surgeon who developed an operation for this syndrome in infants who at the time were deemed too young to have the operation. Diane went on to lead a full life while subsequently undergoing four more open-heart operations done by leaders in the field For this to have happened, she survived four episodes of subacute bacterial endocarditis due to unusual bacteria. She was fortunate to be treated by a series of doctors who have been and still are the pioneers in the treatment of congenital heart disease. The doctors were: Dr. Willis J. Potts of Children?s Hospital in Chicago, the originator of the Potts? operation; the father and son team of Drs. James and John Kirklin who were at the University of Alabama Heart Center; and Dr. Joseph Dearani of the Mayo Clinic. She was a true inspiration during the remaining forty-five years of her life. She died in January 2007, having lived a full life for 62 years. This made her one of the longest survivors on record of Potts? original operation. This is her story.
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