In 1983, when Orlando Felice was 28 years old, a summer virus caused his heart to fail. For three months, the Baltimore accountant lay teetering on the edge of death until surgeons found him a new heart, from a 16-year-old girl who died in a motorcycle accident. Felice’s operation was the third heart transplant performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Since then, side effects from his anti-rejection drugs have caused Felice to undergo a kidney transplant and numerous skin cancer operations. On the most important score, however, Felice has beaten the odds: He’s had 30 years with a stranger’s heart beating in his chest, making him one of the longest-lived heart transplant patients.
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