Brownsville man waits for heart transplant
William “Will” Robison of Brownsville was placed on a list last month that most people never want to make – a heart transplant list.
Robison, 34, has been placed on a list of heart transplant patients at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh because of a malfunction of the left side of his heart that has left him with congestive heart failure, said Robison’s wife, Danielle, 29.
“It’s a big relief, but it’s also scary,” Danielle Robison said.
Danielle Robison said they were informed last week that he has been placed at the top of the list of heart transplant patients for a 30-day period. He is healthy enough for a heart transplant and his heart is pumping because UPMC physicians implanted a battery-powered left ventricular assist device.
“Everything is a waiting game, now,” said his sister, Erica Robison, 26, of Belle Vernon.
Attached to the artificial heart pump for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Will is “doing pretty good,” Danielle Robison said.
“He’s come a long, long way” and can walk around with his ventricular assist device plugged into his heart, she said.
The left ventricular assist device helps to keep a patient’s heart healthy while they wait for a heart transplant, said UPMC spokeswoman Jennifer Yates.
When he goes to visit friends, Will Robison is sure to take extra batteries “so he doesn’t run out of juice,” Erica Robison said.
Danielle Robison said her husband’s heart became damaged from a viral infection this summer, the source of which is unknown.
Robison became ill after a July 5 camping trip, but they thought it was heartburn similar to what has bothered his older brother, John Robison of Fredericktown. Danielle Robison said she took her husband to Uniontown Hospital on July 16 because he was short of breath and she thought he might have pneumonia. However, she was shocked when doctors at the hospital told them he had congestive heart failure. Doctors told her that her husband’s heart was in such poor condition he could have passed away in his sleep.
“We were completely speechless,” Danielle Robison said.
Within a short time, he had gone from being a perfectly healthy man working a job and remodeling his house to being admitted to UPMC Presbyterian hospital with a severe heart problem, Erica Robison said.
While a patient at UPMC Presbyterian for about a month this summer, Robison had to be revived when his heart stopped on two separate occasions, Danielle Robison said.
He returned to UPMC Presbyterian recently to undergo a battery of tests to determine that he was healthy enough for the transplant.
Despite the serious health problems Robison faces, his sister said he remains upbeat.
“His two kids keep him going,” Erica Robison said of Will’s children, Malayna, 4, and Brennan, 2.
Danielle Robison said the family has had great support through the ordeal.
To help the family with expenses, Erica Robison and Will’s best friend, Steve Dugan, and his wife, Ann, have organized a benefit dance on Saturday at the Hiller Volunteer Fire Co., 937 First St., Luzerne Township.
A local country music band, Outpost, will perform at the fundraiser, which is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The entry fee is $10 per person. Food and drinks will be sold. Those attending the fundraiser must be at least 21 years old.
“We plan to show up” at the benefit dance, Danielle Robison said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or [email protected].