Lech Walesa to Get Heart Transplant

Lech Walesa is comign to Houston for a heart transplant.

Lech Walesa to Get Heart Transplant Photo Former Polish President and Solidarity hero Lech Walesa in Warsaw, December 8, 2006. Walesa said on Wednesday he would undergo a heart transplant. (Katarina Stoltz/Reuters) Former Polish President and Solidarity movement leader Lech Walesa said on Wednesday he planned to have a heart transplant in the United States.

Walesa, a symbol of the overthrow of the communist regime in Eastern Europe in 1989 and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said his health was worsening and he could die without a transplant. “I had very bad medical test results last month and quick actions had to be undertaken,” Walesa, 64, told reporters in the northern port city of Gdansk, the cradle of Solidarity which helped to trigger the fall of communism.

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Newspapers reported on Wednesday that Walesa lacked money for the transplant, which could cost around $100,000. “Many people willing to help contacted me after this report was published,” Walesa said before his meeting with Tusk. Two of them even declared unlimited amounts of money but under the condition that I would give them my old heart.”

I suspect payment won’t be much of an issue. Surely, donors will be found to ensure that one of the great heroes of the Cold War gets the medical care he needs.

It is, however, somewhat ironic that a former union boss in a Communist country is having to fly to the United States for medical care.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.