Patient finds closure with his heart

The San Diego Union Tribune | Paul Sisson

Heart transplant patient Arquimides Felix and his family recently took time to examine his failed heart at Sharp Memorial Hospital. From left: wife, Haydee; son, Dominick; and daughter, Yessenia.

A few days after his heart transplant on Sept. 2, Arquimides Felix decided it was time to see what he left behind.

With his wife, Haydee, and their children by his side, the 44-year-old maintenance worker from El Cajon went to the pathology lab at Sharp Memorial Hospital. There, he held the heart that had failed him.

Doctors pointed out features of the organ — now preserved with a mixture of formaldehyde and alcohol called formalin — that were caused by the congestive heart failure that almost ended his life.

The experience of seeing and touching his former heart might seem like it would be too much to handle. But like many other transplant patients, Felix said it brought a kind of closure he could not find in any other way.

“It helped me move on. It’s saying goodbye to something that was carrying me,” Felix said. Continue reading