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Notification of Heart Availability

Waiting List | Matching a Donor | Traveling | Notification

24-Hour Communication

You will be able to order a pager when you are placed on the waiting list. The pager is free of charge and will take about six to eight weeks to arrive. When your pager arrives, it is important that you call your transplant coordinator with the information about your pager as soon as possible.

It is very important that you can be reached at all times once you have been placed on the transplant waiting list. For this reason, you must provide us with a list of telephone numbers of relatives, friends and neighbors who will know where you can be reached if you are not at home. We also will need your work number, if applicable. These phone numbers will help us locate you until your pager arrives or if you cannot be reached at your home telephone number.

Having a pager will give you more freedom away from the telephone. There is no need to wear the pager when you are at home. We will always call your home telephone number first. If there is no answer, we will assume you are out and have your pager with you. We will then page you.

If your pager beeps, you must call the transplant office at (914) 493-7632 within 15 to 20 minutes of being paged. This telephone is answered 24 hours a day. If we cannot reach you within a reasonable amount of time, it may be necessary to contact another potential recipient from the list. Inform the operator in the transplant office that you are waiting for a heart transplant and that you have just been paged.

Sometimes your pager may be activated falsely by outside signals. Since there is no way for you to know if this is a false page, you must always call the transplant office when you are paged. The transplant coordinator will give you instructions on what to do next.

Heart Availability

When a donor heart becomes available for you, your transplant coordinator will call you and tell you what you need to do. Although you may be anxious, things will go smoothly if you have prepared in advance and are fully equipped with heart transplant info.

If you are not in the hospital waiting for your transplant, when you are called you will need to get to Westchester Medical Center as quickly as possible. Your transplant coordinator will tell you what time you must arrive at the Medical Center. This time frame will determine whether you can drive or fly by commercial airline or air charter service. Remember, time is very important, so make sure your travel plans are in order and available to you and your family members.

Getting the call that a heart is available for you produces mixed emotions. There are many things that need to be done in a short time. However, here is some info on things that you can do in advance to prepare yourself while you are waiting for a heart transplant.

  • If you live far from the Westchester Medical Center, check flight arrangements. Begin to check flight schedules, airfares and reservation requirements for both commercial and charter air companies.
  • Make a list of what you plan to bring with you. Storage space is limited in your patient room, so review your list carefully and bring only the essentials.
  • Keep a suitcase packed and ready to go. Pack toiletries and basic personal items, along with pajamas, a robe and slippers. Your family can keep your additional clothing with them.
  • Make sure that your family or whoever is accompanying you to the Medical Center is prepared to leave at a moment's notice.
  • Keep your medications together. You will need to bring them with you to the Medical Center.
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