When he lost his wife following a car crash, Gregory Welsh gave the gift of life to others by donating her organs. Fifteen years later, the 47 year old father received a donor heart transplant to prolong his own life.
“It’s a miracle I got this heart and I’m going to do everything I can to take care of it,” said Mr. Welsh. “I got a second chance and that means something to me.”
Welsh visited a local urgent care center in January 2011 after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Medical personnel discovered he had arrhythmias and a resting heart rate of 190, prompting them to send him immediately to an emergency room. Fifteen minutes after arriving by ambulance, Welsh went into cardiac arrest.
Ten days later he awoke with an artificial heart. Doctors said all four chambers of his heart had major blockage. That left only about 20 percent of his heart working properly, causing him to suffer a heart attack.
With the love and help of his 24-year-old daughter, Cassandra, Welsh was able to face the challenges of life with an artificial heart until a donor heart became available last May.
“I made the choice to donate her mother’s organs, so I’ve seen both sides of the donor network now,” he says.
Walsh now walks two to four miles a day and is working part time. He hopes to be back at work full time in the near future.
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Source: SynCardia Systems, Inc. via PR Newswire
Photo: December 2011: SynCardia Total Artificial Heart recipient Greg Welsh post-transplant with his daughter Cassandra at her graduation from Arizona State University with her master’s degree in teaching. (PRNewsFoto/SynCardia Systems, Inc.)