Time is running out for Plymouth man with two hearts
A MAN who had an electric heart fitted following two near fatal heart attacks has said he is "running out of time" and has urged people to join The Herald's Gift of Life campaign.
Fifty-year-old Chris Marshall, from Wembury, had a mechanical heart fitted in July 2010.
He was close to death several times until the LVAD (left ventricular assist device) was implanted at Harefield Hospital.
Chris has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for nearly two years now and as yet hasn't received one call to say a suitable heart has been found.
He said: "There seems to be lots of ladies' hearts available but not many men's. The heart has got to be a perfect match, it also has to come from someone who was a similar height to me or taller to make sure the heart isn't under any excess strain, and has to be the right blood match too.
"You just don't know how long it's going to take to get a heart. I was told by doctors at Harefield that my mechanical heart could last a couple of years. I know someone who had one for three or four years but I'm running out of time.
"I need a new heart as soon as possible. I live for each day and go for it. I feel like a ticking time bomb. Every day I don't know whether the heart will give out or not. It's a weird life."
Chris said a new electrical heart could be fitted if his current one breaks and a donor still hasn't been found, but that every time he is cut open his chances of survival decrease.
He is urging the people of Plymouth to sign the Organ Donor Register and back The Herald's campaign to get another 1,000 people to become donors.
He said: "It's not just your heart that you could donate, it's everything. You could save three or four lives and could help a whole family who are suffering.
"I totally support The Herald's Gift of Life campaign. There are so many people like myself with so much left to give. I can still make a difference, I try to every day. But I need people to give me a chance.
"It makes me angry and also very surprised to know that only 30 per cent of the city's population are signed up to the register, especially when the government have been pushing it and it still hasn't gone up."
Chris said he wants to see the law changed to an opt-out system, meaning everyone would automatically be an organ donor unless they chose not to be.