Retired hockey player shares organ donation experience
Posted at: 03/01/2013 8:13 AM | Updated at: 03/01/2013 7:02 PM
He was the first to have a total artificial heart put in his chest.
On Friday, thanks to a generous donation from a stranger, hockey great Gates Orlando left the University of Rochester Medical Center with a brand new heart.
Orlando spoke to reporters about his heart transplant Friday. The former Rochester American and Olympian was diagnosed with a rare form of heart failure that affects all four chambers of the heart.
He received the artificial heart in 2012. Doctors say it gave him valuable time to wait for a donor heart.
Orlando says he wants to spread the word about organ donation. “The most important person in this whole thing is my donor and I'd like to thank him and his family for giving me a chance at a new life. I think it's paramount that we get the awareness out there. New York State is very poor in terms of enrollment.”
According to URMC, there are 43 people at the hospital waiting for a heart transplant.
Across New York State, an estimated 3,200 people are waiting for a heart transplant.