Rare double-transplant patient has new lease on life
Shelley Guinyard is proof that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
The 48-year-old Mount Vernon wife and mother suffered a massive heart attack in 2004 and was told she would need both a new heart and liver to stay alive. Two weeks ago, her prayers were answered at the Westchester Medical Center.
The double-transplant is the first such surgery performed in Westchester County and only the third in New York. Only 62 such operations have been performed in the United States.
Two teams of skilled doctors coordinated the eight-hour double-transplant. "We did the heart transplant first," says Dr. David Spielvogel. "Once that went well, we took her off the heart-lung machine while we did the liver transplant procedure."
"I feel wonderful," says Guinyard, who was born deaf and mute. "I feel like a changed woman all those dark times are gone forever and I'm smiling because I have a wonderful life and I'm excited," she says through sign language.
Guinyard's daughter Roseanne is glad to have her mother alive and healthy. "I'm just happy to have my mom back to her old self," she says. "I was there when she had her heart attack a few years ago so I knew she'd be fine."
Guinyard's new heart and liver came from the same donor, whose family chose to remain anonymous.
To watch the doctors' full press conference on the transplant, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.