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Patient Stories

Tom Barbera

Tom Barbera’s heart failure came on quickly and doctors at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital used an artificial heart, amazing technology that gave him time to wait for a heart transplant. After more than a year’s wait, he received the gift of life on Oct. 30, 2017.


Mike Froome

After a diagnostic test reveals that he has been near death more than a thousand times, Mike Froome is put on the waiting list for a heart transplant. This film reveals what it’s like to wait for a heart—and then to finally hear that your new heart is on its way.


Carrie Thornley Fisher

Carrie Thornley Fisher was in heart failure near the end of her second pregnancy. After giving birth to a healthy boy, the 32-year-old spent nearly two months on life-saving mechanical support until she received a heart transplant at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, upstate New York’s only comprehensive heart failure service.


Rusty L.

Rusty Lawrence

Rusty Lawrence was born with a congenital heart defect. Doctors didn't expect him to live past the age of three. By age 43, Rusty was dying of congestive heart failure. His only hope was a heart transplant.

Rusty was referred to UR Medicine's nationally acclaimed Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation. After a three-month wait at Strong Memorial Hospital, he received a new heart—the day before his wife's birthday.

Rusty is enjoying the renewed energy he as a result of his new heart, and he is back to enjoying his favorite thing in the world: being around for his wife and two boys.


Norm B

Norm Breen

Five years ago, Norm Breen got the call that would save his life. It was 3 a.m. when Dr. Leway Chen phoned to tell Norm a heart was available for transplant. By 10 a.m., Dr. Todd Massey arrived at Strong Memorial Hospital with the heart he had personally retrieved from the Midwest that morning, and Norm's transplant was under way.

Just two and a half weeks later, Norm was discharged, and since then, he has achieved his goal of not returning to Strong—at least not as an admitted patient. He has been back plenty of times as a volunteer, however.

Through this experience, the couple gained a tremendous appreciation for the doctors and staff who treated Norm, including cardiologists Dr. Chen and Dr. Jeffrey Alexis. "The doctors and staff are all excellent, and we can't say enough about them," says Phyllis. "Norm is alive today because of them. The amazing thing is that a facility like this is in Rochester, and we didn't have to go to Cleveland or somewhere far away. We are truly blessed beyond measure."