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Personal Stories
Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard
Sir Prof Magdi Yacoub

Steven Tibbey
Denise Darvall
Rebecca Nix
Natalie Brown

Artificial Heart
Jim Braid
Matthew Green
obert Tools

Heart Transplants

Andrea Barrett
Shannon Curran
Emma Grace George
Ashlea Jerome
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Jade Licence
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Hannah Pudsey
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Post Op Diary
Louis Washkansky
Carol Agle
Trish Byng
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Reg Chisholm
Mike Doyle
Gay Eberhart
Jill Edwards
Maria Encalada
Bob Enos
John Fisher
Mick Foster
Steve Henderson
Buddy Hickey
Tanya Jones
John McCafferty
Derrick Morris
Bob Pitcock
Charlotte Jane Tate
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Heart and Lung
Diana Chandler
John Rueben
Peta Capello

Domino Transplants
Peter Allinson
Shonqueela Mallory
Andrew Wilson

Jonathon Holmes

Carers Story
Helen Nutman
Sandra Taylor

Waiting For Transplant
Diana Chandler

Buddy Hickey
Heart Transplant 1988 - over 20years ago

Buddy Hickey

In 1974, Buddy Hickey at the age of 44 had triple bypass surgery. In January of 1987 he was in hospital when he suffered a massive heart attack. This was the biggest of them all. His heart actually stopped for a period of time, but they were somehow able to bring him back from the brink of death.

His health however steadily slipped downhill. He was at a point where he was unable to walk more than 10 feet, it bothered him to sit, tired him to stand, fluid built up on his lungs and his breathing was very laboured.

At age 58 doctors felt that there was nothing more that could be done. His heart was so damaged, and continually draining fluid from his lungs was no longer an option. Time was running out. ‘Go home and get your arrangements in order,’ were the doctor’s words.

Buddy did as he was told and had all of his funeral arrangements completely made. There was only one problem. He had absolutely no intention of attending a funeral, especially his own! He argued with the cardiologists and doctors, and insisted that there must be something else that could be done. What about another bypass? In May of 1988, the same doctor who performed his bypass 14 years earlier, concurred, nothing more could be done. He was too ill to undergo a bypass, too old for a transplant, and even if he could have a transplant, he would never survive. He was told he had weeks, possibly days left to live.

What these doctors didn’t know was that Buddy had great faith in God, and an extraordinary will to live. His determination convinced his family doctor to send Buddy more than 900 miles away for a transplant assessment. His doctor bid him farewell, and knew he would never see him again.

Arriving at University Hospital, in critical condition, the endless tests began, and continued for five full days. Buddy was delirious with pain and fear. He wanted a transplant, but knew someone else would die in order for that to happen. He struggled with his emotions.

On Thursday, Aug. 18th, a priest at the hospital came to visit. Buddy told him, “I think I want to have a transplant, no, I do, I do want a transplant. I hope that tomorrow the doctor tells me I have been accepted, and I hope that by Sunday I get a new heart. I don’t want to wait, I don’t have the time to wait!’

He was given blessings and prayers were said. We never knew where the priest went after leaving the hospital room, but he must have spoken directly to God because the very next day doctors told Buddy he was accepted. He was placed number one on the waiting list for a transplant. Exactly as he prayed, a heart miraculously became available that very Sunday! He went into surgery at 10:00 a.m. and 8 ½ long hours later, the transplant was proclaimed a success!

Within 10 days, this man who only a week previous could not move or walk, this man who could barely breathe was on a treadmill with a grin a mile wide! It is sometimes hard to believe that this happened 20 years ago! It is sometimes hard to believe that this happened at all!

In these 20 years Buddy has attended his grand daughter’s wedding, welcomed 2 great-grand children into the world and recently celebrated 58 years of marriage!

Buddy thanks his family, his friends, and the many doctors and nurses who took care of him. But most especially he thanks his donor, a 17-year-old boy and his family. These are folks he has never met, or known. These are folks he will no doubt never meet or know. Without their kind-heartedness and extreme generosity, this story would have had a very different ending. Buddy thanks this family, with all of his heart!

Do I believe in miracles? You betcha!

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