STATEN ISLAND — His friends call him the “Miracle Man” — and after suffering a heart attack, Anthony Cosentino is counting his blessings since receiving a heart transplant to save his life. But it wasn’t just any heart: he intentionally received one with hepatitis C.
It’s been one year since the operation and Cosentino reunited with his doctors at Staten Island University Hospital on Tuesday.
“They both got me back on track and now I’m striving to get right back to being my regular self again,” Cosentino said.
With new treatment to cure hepatitis C, these types of transplants are becoming more common. His doctors said with these new advances in science, more people are able to donate their organs, including IV drug-users in which hepatitis C is common, so that more lives can be saved.
In July 2020, Cosentino suffered a widow-maker heart attack, often the most fatal type, which came as a surprise to the active 53-year-old.
Doctors implanted a life-saving device — an impella pump — to stabilize his heart, but it wasn’t enough. With only 10% heart function, he needed a heart transplant in the middle of the pandemic, so he was transferred to North Shore University Hospital on Long Island where he met Dr. Samit Shah.
“How amazed all of us are by his perservance and reliance through what he was gone through,” Dr. Shah said.
After waiting only seven weeks, a donor with hepatitis C was found.
“The doctors assured me that it was a 100% curable disease, and at that point I trusted them with my life so I said, ‘Okay.’”
His life was saved, and now lifelong friendships have been formed — with unlimited Italian food, according to his other doctor, Dr. Frank Tamburrino.
“I got a call from his primary doctor and his primary doctor said, ‘Wow, you saved him,’” Dr. Tamburrino recalled. “‘You’re going to get the best bolognese sauce you’ve ever had in your life.’”
Cosentino hand-delivered his famous bolognese sauce to Dr. Tamburrino earlier this year, and to help them break bread even more, the doctor reciprocated on Tuesday with the perfect ingredient — pasta.
“When you’re giving pasta to people, Anthony, I just wanted to make sure that there are some heart healthy pastas that we can utilize,” Dr. Tamburrino joked.