Samantha

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.

  • A Letter From Samantha

  • At just 28-years-old, I needed a heart transplant.

    With literally hours left to live, my mother received the miracle phone call from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center that saved my life. A heart was available for me.

    Thanks to 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.

    Samantha Denti
    Toms River, NJ

  • Donate Today
    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.
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