The Catalyst Issue 20 | December 2014 - Page 24

COMMITMENT | to patients and the future
call .’ But I had been waiting so long I didn ’ t remember what that meant ,” he says . What it meant was that Mr . Murphy would be the fifth person to receive a lifesaving heart transplant at Scott & White , because the right match had finally arrived .
Mr . Murphy also was comforted to know that with new , more sophisticated surgical procedures and medications , transplants today have a much higher success rate than in earlier decades . Now , about 90 percent of all heart transplants are successful after one year , according to the National Institutes of Health . As transplant teams embrace new technologies , it ’ s also much easier to keep track of patients , a necessary step to ensure that they ’ re taking the anti-rejection medications that require lifelong management .
Deepened gratitude James Murphy always liked to fish , although he ’ d fallen away from it over the years as family and work responsibilities took over his free time . But that changed after January 2012 , when Mr . Murphy received a new heart .
“ As soon as I had that transplant , all of a sudden I wanted to go fishing
The heart transplant team has performed 39 heart transplants since 2010 .
The overall Scott & White transplantation program is growing fast , with more than 500 patients at any given time who are waiting for a donor organ , or have already received one .
again . I couldn ’ t get enough of it . I bought fishing gear . I bought an old boat . Now I watch all the fishing shows , too ,” Mr . Murphy says .
Through his relationship with the family of his heart donor , Ricky Mata , he discovered that the man who gave him a second chance at life through organ donation also loved to fish . One of the first times Mr . Murphy went to visit the Matas after his transplant , he was sitting outside their house and commented on the pond next to them . “ I think I told them , ‘ Man I ’ d like to go fishing ,’ and they all started crying ,” he says . As it turned out , Ricky Mata , who had perished in an accident , was an avid fisherman . Now , Mr . Murphy and the Mata brothers send each other photos of their recent catches .
Mr . Murphy is also back to ministering to the congregation that gave him so much support , and returns it in kind . “ We ’ re officially a church , but we ’ re very ‘ come as you are ,’” he says . “ You don ’ t need to dress up , you don ’ t need to do anything special . Just come in , and decide to make a change . We take ‘ em all .”
More patients like Mr . Murphy are living longer , healthier post-transplant lives . He takes several pills a day , which MacKenzie , now eight , helps him organize on Monday afternoons . “ She ’ s my little nurse ,” he says . “ She watches my every move .”
The continued follow-up can be tough on some patients , because it requires constant vigilance , but Mr . Murphy makes it work . There are some limitations to his lifestyle , but he still rides his motorcycle , preaches , and is deeply involved with his family . “ We ’ re getting done everything we want to do , and of course everything we ’ re supposed to do . We just keep on going , and I ’ m forever grateful for that .” n


Mr . Murphy ’ s experience in waiting for a heart was typical , says Nance Conney , director of transplant for Baylor Scott & White in Central Texas . “ Patients can be on the list for months , some for years , and some will never receive a lifesaving organ . Unfortunately supply will never reach demand when it comes to organ donation ,” she says .
[ At press time , more than 123,000 people were waiting for an organ donation . ] To learn more about organ donation , please visit unos . org .
24 THE CATALYST December 14 | sw . org
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