This is Mindi. She is someone’s daughter, someone’s niece, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s wife, someone’s friend, someone’s sister… She is MY little sister.
There exists a heart disease that has plagued my family for far too long; Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). I could give you the long version to describe what HCM is and does, but I won’t go into all of that. If you fancy learning more about the disease, please click the link above. Here is a shorter definition of HCM:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary disease of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart) in which a portion of the myocardium is hypertrophied (thickened) without any obvious cause, creating functional impairment of the cardiac muscle.
It is a very serious disease that has killed many of my family at very young ages. My mother, for example, died at the age of 45. Her younger sister (my Aunt Janie) died at the age of 30. Their mother (my grandmother) died in her late 20’s. My sister had this disease. “HAD the disease? Did she die as well?”, you are wondering. Well, no…because on August 12th, 2015, very very early in the morning, my sister was given a new life. She is the third of my siblings to receive this gift. She was also the third patient to undergo transplant surgery at the hospital that day!
The first transplant was performed in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard. His patient lived 18 days and died of pneumonia. Modern heart transplantation became available to patients in 1980. A study by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute tracking the survival rates of 461 transplant patients from 1984 to 2011 shows the survival rate over the period of the study was 86 per cent after one year, 75 per cent at five years, 62 per cent at 10 years, and 36 per cent at 20 years. The survival rate is much higher for patients who received their transplant in the year 2000 and beyond. The statistics from this study show survival from 2000 to 2011 is close to 90 per cent; 89.3 per cent to be exact.
Modern medicine is amazing! I wonder what Hippocrates would think if he were alive today. Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC), known as the “Father of Western Medicine”, was a Greek physician during the Age of Pericles. He is known for establishing medicine as a profession. He believed diseases were caused naturally rather than by superstitions and angry gods. One of his most famous quotes, “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm” became the basis for the Hippocratic Oath which is a seminal document on the ethics of medical practice.
Probably the most beautiful quote by Hippocrates ties the science of medicine to art, love, and humanity: “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” This, I believe, is why modern medicine is what it is today. It is much more than research, experimentation, and calculations. That is the process. The REASON behind the process is to help humanity… to make the world better. And it is better, Hippocrates. Thank you.
To find out how you can become an organ donor, click HERE. Give the gift that so many are waiting for.