Sacramentan Still Going Strong 25 Years After Heart Transplant
SACRAMENTO,Calif. – When Mick Doughty, 68, was put on the heart transplant list in the1990s, Sutter pioneering heart surgeon Paul Kelly, M.D., said a new heart wouldextend Mick’s life by 10 years … 20 years at the most.
“Itold him, ‘Oh, I’ve got to beat that.’” Doughty says with a smile.
It’s now been 25 years since his transplant, and Doughty credits his longevity to the incredible care he’s received at Sutter Medical Center, close to his home in Sacramento.
To celebrate Doughty’s milestone, the Sutter Heart Transplant Program at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, threw the native Irishman a party and presented him with a few gifts, including a new “Irish ticker” to replace the one that wastaken out: a pocket watch from Ireland.
During the event, which also featured talks by Dr. Kelly – who began Sacramento’s only heart transplant program in 1989 – and the current medical and surgical directors of the program, John Chin, M.D., and Robert Kincade, M.D., Mick entertained the audience with funny stories in his Irish brogue. The physicians say that Mick has done everything he’s had to do to ensure a long life, and that includes his sense of humor.
“He does everything he is supposed to do” to keep himself healthy, says Dr. Kincade. “And he’s just a character, he’s the life of the party.”
The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Heart Transplant Program, the only heart transplant center in the Central Valley, has consistently shown quality measures that are among the best in the nation, and Doughty’s longevity is living proof of that quality.
In the 30 years, the cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and care teams at Sutter Medical Center have transplanted 216 heart patients throughout Northern California to incredible success. Doughty is one of a handful of their patients who have reached the 25-year mark. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average life expectancy for a heart transplant is 9.16 years, and a relative few live past 20 years with a new heart. With his active lifestyle, Doughty believes he’ll outlive the current Guinness world record holder, who lived 34 years with his new heart.
“Peopleask me all the time how I’m feeling, and I say, ‘Never better,’” Doughty says.
“That’swhat it’s all about, giving people back their lives, and giving people aquality of life,” says Dr. Chin. “It’s very, very gratifying. It’s why we dothis.”
When asked what 25 more years of life have given him, Doughty started to list off a number of family and professional events, including his 25th wedding anniversary, his children’s graduations, his son’s wedding, being named “Sacramento’s Financial Planner of the Year.” Then he paused and said, “You know what, I think it’s the day to day, waking up every morning, living life – that is as important as all the milestones.” View a news story on Doughty’s party by clicking here.