Luis Torres was diagnosed with liver disease in 1995. A former New York State Trooper, after September 11, 2001, he spent every day at ground zero, aiding in the recovery effort and transporting personnel and VIPs to and from the site. Two months later, Luis was reassigned to bereavement detail following an airplane crash in Rockaway, Queens. The physical and mental stress of the time took its toll.
"It was the perfect storm for me, emotionally and physically," Luis says, recalling long days exposed to toxins at ground zero and his work with grieving families.
A referral to Einstein gets Luis on the liver transplant list
After Luis moved to Pennsylvania for some peace and quiet, his New York physician referred him to Einstein, where he was placed on the list for a liver transplant in May 2004.
"My donor's gift saved my life and allowed me to be productive after a long, debilitating illness."
- Luis Torres
"At that point, my quality of life couldn't have been worse," Luis says. "My skin itched uncontrollably, I had no appetite and I went through frequent bouts of internal bleeding. Plus, toxins in my blood affected my brain function and left me confused, forgetful and unable to drive or function normally."
Luis' successful transplant greatly improves his quality of life
On November 11, 2004, Luis received a call to report to Einstein - a compatible donor liver had been located. The surgery lasted more than thirteen hours. Afterward, Luis's surgeon reported that by the look of his liver, the donor organ came just in time.
Today Luis has a much improved quality of life. He "gives back" to his donor family by sharing his story and encouraging others to become organ donors.
"My donor's gift saved my life and allowed me to be productive after a long, debilitating illness," he says. "Spiritually and emotionally, it has enabled me to become the person I never even knew I could be. It has strengthened my faith in God, in myself and in others. The selfless act by my donor has inspired me to encourage everyone to give the greatest gift of all: the gift of life."
In fact, Luis credits the experience with some valuable life lessons. "My transplant totally changed my life," he says. "I don't dwell on the small stuff. My family and friends are at the top of my priority list. I don't focus on things that I can't change. As ugly as my illness was, I honestly wouldn't change a thing.