Transplant Patient Reunites with Care Team

by Columbia Surgery on January 30, 2014

Twenty years after receiving a heart and double-lung transplant at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, grateful patient Sean Kunzli and his family came to New York City for a celebratory reunion with his surgeon, Craig R. Smith, MD, and the team that performed this lifesaving surgery. Born with congenital heart disease, Mr. Kunzli underwent the risky and rare transplant in December 1993. Today, Mr. Kunzli is healthy and, according to Dr. Smith, one of the longest surviving recipients of a heart and double-lung transplant.


Sheila Ryan, Mr. Kunzli’s mother; John Siceloff and his wife, Birgit Jorgensen, NP, who was a transplant coordinator at NYP/Columbia in 1993 and is now at NYP/Weill Cornell; Deborah Songailo-Cottrill, Mr. Kunzli’s cousin; Dr. Craig R. Smith, Surgeon-in-Chief, NYP/Columbia; Sean Kunzli; Chelsea Kunzli, Mr. Kunzli’s daughter; Wendy Kunzli-Schaub, Mr. Kunzli’s sister; and Dr. Mark E. Ginsburg, Associate Director of Thoracic Surgery, NYP/Columbia

*Courtesy NY Press January 2014*

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynne R. February 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

God Bless Columbia, my transplant was two years, and 4 months ago, and I feel wonderful. THIS IS THE BEST HOSPITAL IN NYC AND POSSIBLY THE WORLD.
I am proud to part of the Columbia Family of Survivors. Thank you to all the Doctors and nurses that kept me alive for 10 years with ACHD, my special thanks to Dr. Marlon Rosenbaum, chief of congenital heart disease. He never gave up on me. My transplant team was top notch and special thanks to Dr. Donna Mancini as well, We are all blessed to have this hospital in our city, I LOVE COLUMBIA.
A very grateful patient, who is now full of life, and on my greatest journey ever, a second chance at my life. Bravo, Columbia…Ghost Organs are next!!! Can’t wait!
Lynne A. R., a profession patient. My family at 5 Garden South is the best.
Congratulations to Mr. Kunzli, I want to see the number 20 next to my name some day.

Columbia Surgery February 24, 2014 at 10:10 am


Thank you! We’re always happy to hear our patients are doing well, and I’ll be sure to pass your kind words onto Dr. Rosenbaum, Dr. Mancini, and your team at 5 Garden South. I’m sure they are just as excited to celebrate your 20 year milestone as you are. All the best.

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