Transplant thanks

“Jo” McCracken, who recently received a heart transplant, and her husband, Steven, celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary before being discharged from Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple.

Temple residents Steven and Jo McCracken have been in love for more than 40 years, but their time together was threatened when Jo was diagnosed with heart failure. She ultimately needed a heart transplant.

After 14 months of hoping for a lifesaving gift, it arrived on Oct. 23. With her husband by her side, Jo received a new heart at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple. The couple celebrated Steven’s birthday on Oct. 29 and their 40th wedding anniversary a day later.

Jo was grateful for the fresh start.

“To me, (the transplant is) an honor to the donor’s family and my family. It’s most important that I take care of the heart as best I can to uphold the love the donor’s family had for their person and because it’s not something that happens every day. It is the greatest blessing that I could have had. I am just so grateful,” she said.

Dr. Jaime Hernandez, medical director for advanced heart failure at Baylor Scott & White-Temple, shared Jo’s joy.

He said, “It’s a double joy when somebody receives a heart with an opportunity to be reborn. We call it an anniversary when people are getting the opportunity to live again and enjoy a great quality of life outside the hospital and outside of being ill. I think it’s a cycle of life that has become very special for her and important to her. She was able to celebrate her anniversary. We’re very proud of her and very proud of the (cardiovascular) team that made this happen.”

The McCrackens were beneficiaries of some of the best cardiac care in the nation, according to Fortune and IBM Watson Health. The organizations recently recognized Baylor Scott & White-Temple as one of the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals in the U.S. Four Baylor Scott & White Health medical centers were among the top 50.

 “Delivering quality, affordable care to our community is at the heart of what we do every day,” Dr. Stephen Sibbitt, chief medical officer, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple, said. “This recognition is an encouraging sign that our team’s commitment and our determination to never settle can impact change that will improve patients’ lives in Central Texas and beyond.”

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