HIV-positive heart donor’s family, recipient meet

Nov 22, 2022, 8:44 PM | Updated: Nov 23, 2022, 12:12 pm
Bridgette Newton holds a picture of her late daughter Brittany Newton next to Miriam Nieves, holdin...

Bridgette Newton holds a picture of her late daughter Brittany Newton next to Miriam Nieves, holding a plaque, who received Brittany Newton's heart in a transplant at Montefiore Moses Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.Their families stand with them. Doctors at the hospital say the transplant, performed in April, is the first time a heart from an HIV-positive donor was successfully transplanted into an HIV-positive recipient. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

NEW YORK (AP) — Brittany Newton’s family grieved last spring when her life was cut short, at age 30, by a brain aneurysm. But they got to feel close to her again this week, listening to her heart beating in the chest of a thankful New York woman whose life was saved by an organ transplant.

Miriam Nieves, 62, on Tuesday eagerly hugged Newton’s mother and sisters, who she met for the first time at Montefiore Medical Center, where the heart transplant was performed last April.

“The only words that come this Thanksgiving for me is, I am so thankful and so grateful for science, for my family, for my God,” Nieves said. “But I can’t express enough that if it wasn’t for the donors, they are my angels, because they are the ones that allow me this second opportunity.”

Newton’s mother, Bridgette Newton, carried a large photo of her daughter, a certified nursing assistant who had lived in Louisiana.

“My child is still walking around,” she said. “And for that I will forever be grateful.”

Nieves, a former public relations professional who now lives in New York City’s suburbs, beat a heroin addiction 30 years ago but was left HIV-positive.

The married mother of three and grandmother of six started experiencing heart failure after problems with her kidneys.

In order to find a match when the shortage of donors is acute, doctors at the hospital expanded their search to include HIV-positive donors. Enter Newton, an organ donor whose family only learned of her HIV status after her death.

Doctors transplanted her heart and kidney into Nieves.

Newton’s sisters, Breanne and Brianca Newton, used a stethoscope to listen to the beating heart. Breanne Newton said she wasn’t surprised when she heard Nieves say she felt more energetic since the transplant.

“That was my sister. She had energy. She was a goer,” she said, adding, “We are very, very thankful. And it’s just a blessing.”

Surgeons have been transplanting organs from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients for several years but doctors at Montefiore said this was the first such transplant of a heart.

“I think it’s going to be done again because we’ve shown that it’s safe,” said Dr. Omar Saeed, a transplant cardiologist at Montefiore.

“The reality is that there are more people who need hearts than there are hearts available,” said Dr. Vagish Hemmige, an infectious disease specialist at the facility. “The HIV heart transplant program enables people living with HIV to receive life-saving transplants from donors that otherwise wouldn’t be used.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were...
Associated Press

Idaho police seek car seen near site where 4 students killed

Police are asking for help finding the occupant of a car that was seen near where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, saying that person could have "critical information" about the case.
21 hours ago
murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Wednesday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Ridgeline 91, East Valley (Spokane) 69 POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS= Crosspoint Academy vs. Chief Kitsap Academy, ccd. Mount Baker vs. Mount Vernon, ccd. Orcas Island vs. Lummi, ccd. ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, […]
21 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
21 hours ago
Locals cut elephant meat that was killed by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers after the elephant kille...
Associated Press

Officials talk biodiversity as drought stunts Kenya wildlife

ARCHERS POST, Kenya (AP) — In Kenya’s sweltering northern Samburu county, a destructive drought exacerbated by climate change is wreaking havoc on people and wildlife. After four consecutive years of failed rains causing some of the worst conditions in 40 years, wild animals have become commonplace in the county’s villages as they search for food. […]
21 hours ago
South Korean Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, center, speaks during a news conference at the governm...
Associated Press

South Korea widens back-to-work orders on striking truckers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s government expanded its back-to-work orders Thursday against thousands of cargo truck drivers who are staging a nationwide walkout over freight fare issues, saying a prolonged strike could inflict “deep scars” on the country’s economy. The “work start” orders on steel and fuel truckers were inevitable because the strike […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
HIV-positive heart donor’s family, recipient meet