Wanted: Parents of organ donor who died of drug OD -- and saved a life

STATEN ISLAND LIVE | Dr. Gracelyn Santos
Brooklyn residents Gregory Rozenblat and Polina Poltinnikov and their 12-year-old son, Ryan Rozenblat. Ms. Poltinikov underwent liver transplant surgery last May 2016. The couple believes the organ donor was a young man from Staten Island who died of a drug overdose and are in search of his parents to thank them for saving her life. (Courtesy Gregory Rozenblat)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Gregory Rozenblat believes a young man from Staten Island who died of a drug overdose saved his wife's life. And he wants to meet the parents who donated his liver to properly thank them.

Gregory, who lives with his wife, Polina Poltinnikov, and their son 12-year-old son, Ryan, in the the Midwood section of Brooklyn, contacted SILive in the hopes of locating the young man's family.

"My wife was battling liver cancer and received a liver transplant in May 2016 from an 18-year-old from Staten Island, who died from an overdose," Gregory said. "I guess his parents donated his organs ... but without that young man from Staten Island, my wife would have died."

Gregory read on SILive during the time of his wife's transplant surgery that a young victim of S.I.'s drug epidemic lived with his parents in Great Kills.

"As I was in the hospital sitting next to my wife after the operation, a friend of mine posted an article about two 18-year-olds who overdosed," he said. "One was in critical condition and one died. As I was reading the story on Facebook, chills went down my spine. Even today, it feels the same way every time I think about it."

Due to confidentiality clauses, the hospital could not release information about the donor's family. But almost a year later, the Rozenblats hope to find and thank them. Continue reading
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