Hatem Tolba cherishes every single day with his family. Three years ago, the healthy father celebrated his wedding anniversary and two days later was in a medically induced coma.
A severe E.Coli infection left him in organ failure. It took weeks for Massachusetts doctors to stabilize him. But he desperately needed a liver transplant.
That donor turned out to be a 21 year old man who died of a heroin overdose in the throws of the nation's opioid epidemic. New research in the annals of internal medicine finds organ donations from overdose victims have increased 24-fold.
New England Donor Services President, Alex Glazier calls it an unexpected silver lining. The liver Hatem received was infected with Hepatitis C, which was cured in just weeks thanks to medical advances. Those treatments have paved the way for using more organs that wouldn't have been considered.
Hatem hopes someday to meet the family of the person who died and saved his life. Thanks to a gift from a stranger that's giving him a second chance.