A Vista man is celebrating a remarkable medical milestone Thursday, as he is one of only a handful of people in the world to receive three transplanted organs.
Frank Murdock, a 17-year Navy veteran who served during the Gulf War, was forced out of the military in 1993 due to lung disease.
Over the years, his condition worsened. In 2000, he had his right lung transplanted at UC San Diego. Then, in recent years, he developed heart disease. Once again, he needed a transplant.
"I was almost like a walking time bomb," Murdock said Thursday morning from his hospital bed at UCSD Thornton Hospital.
Ultimately, Murdock needed a new heart and kidney. A match was found last month from a young person who died in a fatal fall. The operation was risky, but a success.
"To me, this is a miracle and I bless anybody who is in organ donation out there, and let them know, you know, that this is where they go; they go to veterans, they go to people that need them," said Murdock.
"It's a tricky surgery, because he had first [a] lung transplant, so that made the heart transplant more tricky and as far as the kidney transplant, it's tricky because we have to balance all of the different functions of the organ and make sure the patient is not on medications that will damage the kidney," said Dr. Victor Pretorius, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UC San Diego Cardiovascular Center.
Murdock's 11-year-old son, Christopher, was by his side as he tearfully talked about how grateful he is for the gifts he's been given.
"All of you out there who are organ donors, I'd really like to thank you for my heart, my lung, my kidney," said Murdock.
Murdock could go home as early as Friday.
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