A Dream Realized
Robert Drummond, 71, of Hillside, lost track of the number of times his
heart stopped. Pacemakers, defibrillators, medications and hope were not
enough to keep his heart beating while he waited for a transplant. But,
an extraordinary heart pump helped to bridge the gap.
In 2009, Robert, who was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, was the
first person in New Jersey to rely on a small, quiet, implantable electromagnetic
pump to circulate blood throughout his body – the DuraHeart ventricular
assist device (VAD).
The device, implanted at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), an
RWJBarnabas Health facility, enhances quality of life for people with
heart failure and can serve as a bridge to transplant or provide therapy
for people who are not eligible for a transplant. In Robert’s case,
it would serve as a bridge.
Twenty-two years ago, NBIMC implanted New Jersey’s first VAD, drawing
cardiac experts from throughout the region to receive training in the
use of the devices.
“I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs before receiving
the VAD,” explains Robert, who underwent a heart transplant at NBIMC
performed by surgeon Margarita Camacho, MD, Surgical Director of Cardiac
Transplantation, only six months after the VAD was implanted. Following
eight weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, also at NBIMC, he was on his way
to a new reality – singing in the church choir and volunteering
for NBIMC’s Hearty Hearts group and the New Jersey Sharing Network.
And, his dream about shooting hoops in his backyard with his grandchildren
Now five years post transplant, Robert exclaims that, “life is good.
Dr. Camacho is the greatest, as are all the nurses, doctors and therapists
at Newark Beth.”