Rochester, New York – Last month, a team of doctors and nurses from Strong Memorial Hospital conducted the 300th heart transplant in the history of the program, which began in 2001. It is still the only heart transplant program in upstate New York.
The recipient is a nurse, and a single mom, from Buffalo.
According to Denise Abbey, she had gone from being a life of the party and a dedicated sports mom, to simply existing, and not truly living.
“When a patient gets a heart transplant, it’s like a new lease on life,” said Dr. Sabu Thomas, an advanced heart failure cardiologist. “What used to be impossible, now becomes something that is now possible.”
She is now filled with gratitude and hopes to meet her donor’s family one day. “When you’re grieving yourself, you can make that decision to help other people in the midst of your own personal pain. That says something about them, and I want to tell them to thank you. Thank you.” Said Denise Abbey, the recipient of the heart transplant.
Denise is full of life, and her spirit is contagious, in a good way. “Sometimes the emotions overwhelm so when you sit in your office and you know big surgeons don’t cry but every now and then- they do,” said Dr. Igor Gosev, a heart transplant surgeon at Strong. “It is really amazing.”
45% of New Yorkers are registered as organ donors. The National rate is 65%. New Yorkers who are 16 or older can enroll online.