NEW YORK (AP) – A woman who received a new lease on life after a bare-heart transplant between an HIV-positive donor and recipient has met the family of the woman who gave it to her and gave them a chance to hear. the heart of loved ones beats in their new home.
On Tuesday, Miriam Nieves, 62, eagerly hugged the mother and sisters of Brittany Newton, the 30-year-old Louisiana woman whose heart was received earlier this year, according to doctors at Montefiore Medical Center. To an HIV-positive recipient.
“The only words that come to me this Thanksgiving are I’m so thankful and so thankful for science, my family, my God,” Nieves said. “But if it wasn’t for the donors, I can’t say enough that they are my angels because they are the ones who gave me this second chance.”
Newton’s mother, Bridgette Newton, carried a large photo of her daughter, a certified nursing assistant who died of a brain aneurysm.
“My baby is still walking,” she said. “And for that I will always be grateful.”
Newton’s sisters, Breanne and Brianca, used a stethoscope to listen to Nieves’ heart beating in his chest.
Breanne Newton wasn’t surprised to hear Nieves say she has more energy now.
“That was my sister. He had energy. He was a visitor,” Breanne Newton said, adding, “We’re very, very grateful. And it’s just a blessing.”
Transplantation took place in April.
Nieves, a former public relations professional who now lives in Westchester, upstate New York, beat her heroin addiction 30 years ago but contracted HIV.
The married mother of three and grandmother of six developed heart failure after kidney problems.
To find a match at a time when the donor shortage is acute, doctors at the hospital have expanded their search to include HIV-positive donors. Enter Newton, an organ donor whose family learned of his HIV status only after his death.
Doctors transplanted his heart and kidney to Nieves.
Transplant cardiologist at Montefiore Dr. “This has never been done before,” said Omar Saeed. “I think it will be done again because we’ve shown it’s safe.”
The institution’s specialist in infectious diseases Dr. “The reality is that there are more people who need hearts than there are,” said Vaghish Hemmige. “The HIV Heart Transplant Program enables people living with HIV to receive life-saving transplants from donors that would otherwise not be used.”
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