A Transplant Journey

RECYCLED PARTS: one family's journey with heart transplantation

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beach Holiday

Life has been hectic.  I apologize for the hiatus.

We're just wrapping up a fantastic holiday in South Carolina with friends and family.  After the medically-challenged last couple of summers, the return to our beloved South Carolina has been greatly appreciated!  Here are some photos of our youngest transplant recipient, family & friends.  

Mini golfers

Lisa & I

The transplant with his family

Carrie & I
My handsome boys

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Organ Donation: Should Age Matter?

The article below is a very interesting read for the transplant community mainly because it touches on the controversy of receiving organs when you're over 65.  Dick Cheney was 71 when he had his heart transplant surgery Saturday morning & was likely in great shape after having the LVAD [mechanical device that assists the heart] for two years - probably in better shape than a patient younger than 71.  My dad, John, received his heart at the age of 68 & still lives an active life given his age of 83.  Proof that age should not be a detractor to those waiting for organs.
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going. Cheney, 71, waited nearly two years for his new heart, the gift of an unknown donor.

An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was over, and said the ex-vice president was recovering at a Virginia hospital.
"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician's close associates.
Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day.
More than 3,100 Americans currently are on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. And 330 people died while waiting.
According to UNOS, 332 people over age 65 received a heart transplant last year. The majority of transplants occur in 50- to 64-year-olds.
The odds of survival are good. More than 70 percent of heart transplant recipients live at least five years, although survival is a bit lower for people over age 65.
Read the complete article from The Huffington Post Canada here

Friday, February 3, 2012

London Health Sciences Centre marks 600th transplant

A heart sits in a cooler in a Boston hospital.
A travel-weary Dr. Neil Mackenzie picks up the package after a long day in surgery, only to face another when he returns to London.
It’s 1983 and the multi-organ transplant program at London Health Sciences Centre is in its infancy.
Then age 23, Ken Gaston is flown to London from his home in Calgary, anticipating the arrival of his new heart. Fluids are pooling in his hands and feet, his liver is failing, and his skin is yellow.
Fast-forward to Oct. 21, 2011.
A heart sits in the hands of Dr. Mackenzie Quantz.
For the 600th time, surgeons at the LHSC program are about to replace a damaged heart with a healthy one, offering patient Desmond Dias an extension on his life.
The family man will be given another summer to golf with his children.
Fast-forward again to Thursday.
A heart sits in the chest of Mark Cronk.
The 69-year-old, who waited months for a new heart, underwent a successful transplant nine days ago.
And now he sits in a room with both Gaston and Dias, as LHSC celebrates a 30-year-old program that has performed the most heart transplants of any centre in Canada. A program that has given renewed life to more than 600 patients who otherwise would not have survived.
A heart sits in the next donor who’s unaware of the chance they will give a stranger.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Doctors successfully transplant heart dropped in street while being rushed to hospital

Erika Hernandez, 28, waves from inside an ambulance after being discharged from the hospital where she had a heart transplant in Mexico City, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2012. Hernandez made national news on Jan. 11 when her new heart was accidentally dropped while being transported to the hospital where she was waiting for surgery. Mexico City police said they used a helicopter to deliver the heart in "a rapid, precision maneuver." But after exiting the chopper, a medic stumbled and the plastic-wrapped heart tumbled out of a cooler onto the street. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

MEXICO CITY - A heart that was dropped on the ground while being transported to a hospital has been successfully transplanted into a 28-year-old hair stylist.
Dr. Jaime Saldivar says Erika Hernandez doesn't yet know that her new heart made national news when a medic stumbled and the plastic-wrapped heart tumbled out of a cooler onto the street two weeks ago.
Saldivar says it will be up to the family to tell her.
A rosy-cheeked Hernandez spoke briefly with reporters on Tuesday and thanked the donor's family, saying "I have no words to express what I'm feeling right now."
Hernandez was born with a congenital heart defect. She received the heart of a man who died in a car accident.

Here are some photos of the heart being dropped:

The heart arrives!


Five second rule...keep calm & carry on

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sarah Burke's Gift of Life in Death

Sarah Burke's death is truly a tragedy.  As per her wishes, Sarah's organs and tissues were donated.  Please read the article below highlighting her many accomplishments...
On January 19, 2012, the snow industry lost an icon. Sarah Burke, freeskiing pioneer, six-time X Games gold medalist, beloved wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend passed away.
Sarah was truly a legendary athlete, role model and an inspiration. She was everything so many of us aspire to be.
Female athletes everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah's passionate trailblazing efforts over the last 15 years. As the first competitive female freeskier, she successfully lobbied the Winter X Games to include women in freeskiing events on equal standing. It is because of Sarah's efforts that female winter athletes are some of the only athletes in the world to receive equal prize purses to that of men.
Sarah brought worldwide recognition and validation to the sport she so loved. Every ski athlete chosen to represent his or her country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will feel her influence. Without her, the sport of freeskiing would not be included.
Sarah is a pioneer of her generation. Her life and legacy embody the true spirit of action sports; a movement of individuals driven to innovate, master and explore the frontier of physical possibility. Sarah's love of skiing took her life to amazing places.
Her accomplishments on skis continue to inspire girls everywhere to believe in themselves and follow their hearts. Her passing is not a cause to pack up our skis, but rather a reason to step-in and ski for Sarah and the dreams that inspired her star to shine.
In accordance with Sarah's wishes, her organs and tissues were donated to help save the lives of others.
Sarah did so much for females and winter sports during her time with us.
Taken from: http://www2.giveforward.com/sarahburke.html

Man with two hearts survives double heart attack

Doctors managed to save the life of a 71-year-old man with two hearts who suffered dueling heart attacks. "We haven't ever seen anything similar to this case before," Dr. Giacomo Mugnai said in an interview with MSNBC.

X-ray from an Italian man with two functioning hearts
At first, doctors thought they had a typical case of cardiac arrest until they examined the patient more closely and noticed his unusual medical condition. It turns out that the man actually wasn't born with two hearts. His second heart arrived after an earlier medical procedure on his original heart.
The procedure, a heterotopic transplant, is done to pair a new, healthy organ with a diseased one.
"We see this in cardiac patients or kidney patients, sometimes," Dr. Rade Vukmir, professor of emergency medicine at Temple University and a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, told MSNBC. "Surgeons might leave a kidney in place if it's too much trouble to take out, or if there is hope for recovery of a kidney, or a heart, after a period of time" of being helped by the new organ.
By Eric Pfeiffer
Read more at: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/man-two-hearts-survives-double-heart-attack-223043465.html