Change of Heart
“My college roommate’s dad had a sailboat, and my roommate taught sailing. We lived together for a few years after college, and spent many nights on San Francisco Bay after work. I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to become certified to sail, but kids and life always got in the way.
“I was born with an insufficient aortic valve. I had it replaced when I was 38. I developed arrhythmia problems a year later, which led to my getting a defibrillator implanted in my chest.
I went through a series of infections and had some surgeries that didn’t go well. Late in 2015, things just started dropping off the edge of the table. My cardiologist said it was time to start afresh and get a new heart — and CPMC was the best place to receive it.
That late-night visit from Dr. Pham meant so much to me. Hearing him say, ‘Everything will be fine, we’ll take care of you,’ gave me the hope I needed.
“That first night in the hospital, I was thinking, ‘What is my future?’ At about 10:00 pm, I heard a nurse say, ‘Doctor, what are you doing here?’ A male voice replied, ‘I’m here to welcome a patient.’ Next thing I knew, Dr. Michael Pham was standing at the foot of my bed reassuring me, explaining what he would do to help me. That late-night visit from Dr. Pham meant so much to me. Hearing him say, ‘Everything will be fine, we’ll take care of you,’ gave me the hope I needed.
“I was too sick to wait for a donor heart to become available so they implanted a pump called a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD. I recuperated at a friend’s condo with a view of the boats moored at South Beach Harbor. While sitting there with the LVAD apparatus, I swore if I ever got the chance, I’d get my certification. Just a few months later, I was blessed with the heart transplant. My son and I have now received our certification, and go out on the Bay from South Beach Harbor every chance we get while we work our way up from small boats to larger ones.”
It's All About Giving
“Our doctors believe in the power of philanthropy so much that they are donors to CPMC themselves,” adds Osorio. “It’s fundamental to our work. Transplant medicine relies on people willing to make a precious donation — their organs — to help others. In more than one way, this department is all about giving.”
— Robert W. Osorio, MD, FACS, Chair of CPMC’s Dept. Advanced Organ Therapies and Transplant
Philanthropy Powers Our Innovation
Our transplant patients understand the power a donor can have more than anyone. To learn more about the many ways to give to transplant research and treatment at CPMC, please contact:
Campaign Director, Neuroscience Institute & Transplant Programs
2015 Steiner Street
San Francisco, CA 94115