BOSTON (CBS) – A rare combined series of transplants for two men on the same day, and thanks to the expertise at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, both patients are on the verge of going home.
Both men needed heart and kidney transplants, and with those two organs, you can’t transplant one without the other. That’s because without a healthy heart the kidney transplant may fail and vice versa.
But what makes this story so unusual is that the organs became available on the same day. So Tufts transplant teams had to go into overdrive.
“I had no strength. I wasn’t able to do any of the things I used to do,” says 67-year-old David Horne.
“I couldn’t walk up steps. My endurance was going down and down and down and down. I needed help,” says Monty Scott who is 47.
Both men are from Rhode Island and they met for the first time on Thursday. They’re lives intersected on February 22nd. Both men were close to death, suffering from heart and kidney failure.
“Had this not come about, I really didn’t have long,” David says.
Then they got phone calls from the Tufts transplant team. Not only was there a heart-kidney donor, there were two. “That was a phenomenal phone call,” Monty remembers.
But the clock was ticking. To keep the donated organs viable, they had to be transplanted quickly. “To have two patients receive a combined heart-kidney in one day is unheard of,” says Dr. David DeNofrio, the director of Tufts Cardiac Transplantation Program.
He says this type of surgery has only happened once before. “It was a historic day and it’s one we’re going to remember for a long time,” he says.
After 20 hours of surgery it worked, for both men. “I feel every day is a new day. I feel like a newborn baby,” Monty says.
“This is a whole new life,” adds David.
“I want to pick my daughter up from school, smell the roses, watch the cars go up and down the streets,” says Monty.
“My goal by the end of this summer is to be back playing golf,” says David.
Another thing that makes this kind of double transplant surgery on the same day rare is that most hospitals do not have the staff or facilities to pull it off. Tufts does.
As for the patients, Monty could go home as early as next week. David will spend two weeks at Spaulding Rehab and then go home.
They’re already making plans to get together for dinner with their families.