BOSTON (CBS) – Performing an organ transplant takes a lot of staff and a lot of coordination. One local hospital completed two simultaneous heart transplants earlier this year and it may be a first time in New England.
Two strangers met for the first time, but they will always share a special bond.
Three years ago, Orrin Reed of Candia, N.H. contracted a virus that permanently damaged his heart.
Six years ago, Delphine Andrews of Randolph developed heart failure that runs in her family. Both were on the transplant list and both received the call.
Reed says when his wife came into the room and said the transplant doctor was on the phone he felt like he was going to be sick with excitement.
"I thought I was going to throw up," he admits.
Andrews recalls the moment when the phone rang and the doctor on the other end said they had a heart for her. "You do?!" she asked.
What's so amazing is that both patients received their hearts on the same day, at the same time, with two totally different transplant teams.
"I don't think we've ever done that before," says Dr. Greg Couper, who operated on Andrews.
He has been performing heart transplants for many years and says to pull it off with the dozens of doctors, nurses, and technicians necessary is virtually impossible.
But on March 28, at Tufts Medical Center, they made it possible.
"(A) patient might only get an opportunity, just one opportunity, for a transplant and you just can't let that go by," Couper said.
Both patients have to return every month or so for a heart biopsy to check for rejection. So far, they're both doing well.
And as for hearing they made history together, Andrews says she couldn't wait to meet Reed.
"I finally got a chance to meet him and his wife. They're beautiful people," Reed said.
"We have something in common. We both have a second life on the same day.".
Tufts Medical Center has performed 28 heart transplants in 2016 so far, the most of any hospital in New England.
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