Celebrating a “Heart-a-versary”
Samantha, a patient on the heart transplant waiting list, had less than 24 hours
left to live. Then, the “miracle” phone call arrived –
a heart was identified for the 28-year old Toms River resident.
Flash back to Samantha’s cardiac issues. When she was 10 years old,
her father died after his body rejected a heart following a transplant.
Samantha and her brother were both tested for cardiac issues and it appeared
all was okay. This was the case until Samantha turned 23.
“I didn’t feel well,” she says. “It hurt to breathe
and I was getting light-headed and dizzy.” She received testing
at Community Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, which confirmed
her worst fear – advanced heart failure due to cardiomyopathy, the
same heart disease that her father had. Samantha would likely need a heart
transplant in her late 40s.
Fast forward to age 28 when Samantha continued to experience health issues.
Her doctor referred her to Mark J. Zucker, MD, JD, Director, Cardiothoracic
Transplantation Program, at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC),
also an RWJBarnabas Health facility, who determined that the left side
of Samantha’s heart was markedly abnormal and not pumping effectively.
The plan was to implant a ventricular assist device (VAD) – a mechanical
circulatory assist device designed to partially or completely replace
the function of her failing left ventricle.
Samantha’s heart condition worsened sooner than expected. With only
hours left to live, Samantha’s mother received a “miracle”
phone call – a heart was available. Margarita Camacho, MD, Surgical
Director of Cardiac Transplantation and Assist Devices, RWJBarnabas Health,
boarded a plane to obtain and harvest the heart for transplant surgery.
The heart transplant surgery was a success.
“Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is my slice of heaven,”
says Samantha. “I’ve never seen such commitment and compassion.
The entire staff was phenomenal, they treated me like family. I wouldn’t
be here today without them.”
Samantha, now 29, celebrated her recent “heart-aversary” by
participating in NBIMC’s Annual Heart & Sole Walk to raise money
for the cardiac unit.
At just 28-years-old, I needed a heart transplant.
With literally hours left to live, my mother received the miracle phone
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center that saved my life. A heart was available for me.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center my heart transplant surgery was a success. I have never seen such commitment
and compassion. The entire staff was phenomenal – they treated me
like family and I wouldn’t be here today without them.
That is something I will never forget.
At 23, I was diagnosed with advanced heart failure due to cardiomyopathy,
the same heart disease that my father died from when I was a young child.
The left side of my heart was abnormal and not pumping effectively. I
was told I would need a transplant by the time I reached my late 40s.
But, my heart issues got worse, much sooner than expected. The right side
of my heart had completely given out by the time I was 28. My time was
running low. Having the third largest heart transplant program in the
country right here in New Jersey saved me.
Generous gifts from donors and friends like you make outcomes like mine
possible at Newark Beth Israel.
Newark Beth Israel is always here for you. I can tell you firsthand that
you never know when a serious illness or injury may affect you or a loved
one. When it does, having the best care right here in New Jersey is invaluable.
Toms River, NJ
Stories like Samantha's are made possible in part thanks to generous
donations to the Transplantation Program. As a nonprofit organization,
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center relies on your support to continue giving
the best care to our patients.