Heart Transplant: George's Story
"Having a transplanted heart allows me to wake up each day and say 'thank you.' "
- George, who had a heart transplant at UW Hospital in 2001
George (pictured), a heart transplant recipient, underwent heart transplantation in 2001 at UW Hospital and recounts the experience and how it has changed his life for the better.
"My heart problems started in early 1991. After having heart attacks, catheterizations, angioplasty, another heart attack, defibrillation, bypass surgery, arrhythmia and a pacemaker, I was put on Amiodarone and told by a cardiologist and electrophysiologist I should think about getting on a transplant list.
"I said, 'No, I want to live on the heart God gave me.' I was able to make that last (with monitoring) for six and one-half years, then debilitation started to set in and I went to investigate heart transplant.
"I chose Madison and was told to get my records together and have them looked at to see if I qualified. Upon being accepted I went through the processing, and ultimately received a heart on March 6, 2001.
"I have never had such a profound, moving and 'all-encompassing' experience. The doctors and nurses were so knowledgeable and so confident. They could not only do a transplant, but helped me to heal and then sent me on my way with monitoring. What a wonderful testimony to American medical technology and expertise, and I was able to experience it firsthand.
"I never dreamed I would be able to see my oldest granddaughter get married or get to be a great-grandparent nearly a year later. It has been that, and so many other things, that I have been able to enjoy. I am eternally grateful that there are people who are organ donors, and for the people who follow through and see to the wishes of the deceased. I am especially proud to have a female heart. Having a transplanted heart allows me to wake up each day and say 'thank you.'
"My wife and I have a terrific relationship and have gotten to see a life that I never dreamed would happen. Oh yes, we will be married 50 years in March."