John Wood. Dave Bakke/The State Journal-Register
Doctors have told John Wood the average wait for a heart transplant is eight months. He is in his sixth month on the waiting list.
It’s a mental game now, this waiting. John could drive himself crazy if he thinks about it too much.
“It’s very frustrating to be like this,” he says. “I just gotta have patience and pray.”
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 3,100 patients are waiting for heart transplants in the United States. The network’s website puts the average wait time nationally at 168 days, or between five and six months. Former vice president Dick Cheney waited 20 months to receive a heart transplant.
According to the network, John is one of 77 people waiting for a heart transplant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. People on the waiting list are ranked according to their conditions, their blood types and the size of their hearts compared to the donor hearts. Barnes-Jewish requires potential transplant recipients to stay within 2 1/2 hours of travel time to the hospital.
So where is John on that hospital’s waiting list? He doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know, at least most of the time.