Kingston resident makes the call of his life

Record Online | Josh Bakan

Jim Milano, right, umpires a 17-and-up slow-pitch softball league game at Kingston Point Park. The veteran umpire had his left ventricular assist device installed on Feb. 28, 2014, at Rochester General Hospital. Allyse Pulliam/For the Times Herald-Record

KINGSTON — Somebody has to die for Jim Milano to live.

His son used to sleep two hours a night worrying about him. His wife visited him in the hospital constantly. He had no control over finding a heart to keep him alive. Chuck Jackson, president of the Kingston Umpires Association and a lifelong friend, visited room 734 of Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.

All patients in the room awaited a heart transplant, their only hope to live.

New York has no shortage of patients awaiting a heart. New York holds the lowest percentage of enrolled organ donors in the U.S., according to a study published May 28 in American Journal of Transplantation. More than 123,000 Americans need lifesaving organ transplants. Twenty-one die each day waiting.

Milano, 60, expected the hospital to instantly place a heart inside him and let him get back to his life. Instead, he was hospitalized from September 2013 to March 2014. Continue reading