AUSTIN (KXAN) — For 30 years Seton has been giving patients a second chance at life in their operating rooms. Now they’ve reached a milestone, successfully completing their 400th heart transplant at the Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center.
The 400th heart went to Amber Martin, a 29-year-old military wife and mother of two, from Fort Hood.
She was born with congenital cardiomyopathy and surgeries began at age four to mend the heart defect.
“Throughout my teenage years I was always really tired, I’d be the one behind everyone else,” remembers Martin. “When I was 15 they had to go in and repair it again, and after that I developed an arrhythmia.”
This year, her heart was beyond repair and she needed a new one. Doctors told her to expect an 8 to 10 month wait for a donor match, but it only took three weeks. A donor heart matched her better than others on the list.
“It’s a very difficult time in any family or individual’s life when they have to make that decision to donate, but it also affects a number of people potentially,” said Ernest Haeusslein, Medical Director of Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center.
Right now 20 people at Seton are on the waiting list for a heart.
“Being the 400th patient, I couldn’t have done that without donors,” said Martin. “I’m so grateful for my donor and their family.”
She urges people to consider registering to become a donor. In addition to organs like the heart, tissue that can be donated includes the eyes, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons.
Martin hopes to one day give that gift back to other families, and hopes people listening to her story will too.