Blackhawks Player Cheers Up Patient Waiting for a Heart Transplant

News Archive March 15, 2012

Blackhawks Player Cheers Up Patient Waiting for a Heart Transplant

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- After spending more than six weeks in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant, Jason Cipri, 31, needed some cheering up.

Cipri, a huge hockey fan, was thrilled when Blackhawks player Andrew Shaw paid him a visit March 14 in the Cardiac Care Unit of Loyola University Medical Center.

They talked about hockey for nearly an hour, and Shaw gave Cipri an autographed Blackhawks jersey.

"When I get out of the hospital," Cipri said, "I'm going to wear this jersey when I go to the game."

Cipri said the only sport he follows much is hockey. "I could watch game after game," he said.

At Crystal Lake South High School, Cipri played center on the hockey team. In a routine sports physical during his senior year, a doctor discovered he was suffering congestive heart failure.

Cipri's doctors at Loyola have kept his heart functioning with the latest treatments, including an implantable defibrillator, catheter ablation and medications. But his heart has become so weak that a transplant has become his only option. He has been hospitalized since Feb. 1 as he waits for an organ to become available.

"Through all of this, he has managed to go to college and get married," said Loyola cardiologist Dr. Erin Coglianese, who specializes in heart failure and heart transplant. "He continues to be very patient and brave."

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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