NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Many of us have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and that includes a California woman who will be able to celebrate the holiday after receiving the gift of life twice.
“Thank God to be alive and have my family together,” Gudelia Bustamante said.
Bustamante, 58, is a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. She recently survived a rare double organ transplant.
“They were calling her Wonder Woman because she kept bouncing back,” Gudelia’s husband Bob said.
After suffering congestive heart and liver failure Bustamante needed a transplant of both organs, CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported.
She finally received those organs four months ago at UCLA Medical Center.
“This is a relatively unusual procedure,” Dr. Ronal Busuttil explained.
Doctors at UCLA have only performed three of the combined transplants over the past 20 years.
“Even if the two transplant organs work well there can be infections, there can be other organ dysfunctions,” Dr. Mario Deng said.
Gudelia’s speedy recovery surprised everyone, and doctors said that her body has responded well to the new organs. Her family was grateful.
“I can’t thank you enough. You know I love you,” Bob said to his wife’s doctors.
Gudelia said that prayers from her family and friends helped her fight through the surgery. She also gave thanks to the unknown donor who lost her life and left behind the organs that saved her own.
Since 1992, only 139 combined heart-liver transplants have ever been done in the U.S. The first was performed in 1992, survival rates for the double procedure are about the same as for a heart or liver transplant.
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