Heartwarming reunion brings transplant patient, surgeon together after 25 years

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- The moment a heart transplant patient reconnected with his surgeon after 25 years is nothing short of heartwarming.

"I remember Glenn like it was yesterday. Although, it wasn't yesterday," Surgical Director of Cardiac Transplantation at Aurora St. Luke's Hospital Dr. John Crouch said.

In his early 30's, Glenn Stuckmann caught a viral infection that enlarged his heart, forcing his name on the transplant list. He waited for 18 months, six of them spent living in the hospital. 

"You're waiting to die basically," Stuckmann said. 

Stuckmann has since lived a full life. He got married, gained two step-daughters, and had a son.

"I cheated death twice," Stuckmann said. "I'm a lucky person."

Crouch continues to save lives like Stuckmann's everyday.

"We roughly do 30 to 40 transplants a year, and that would be what we maintain," Crouch said. "That still puts us at the top 10 to 15 percent of programs."

Crouch said the transplant allocation system has significantly improved in the last 25 years.

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