ABERDEEN, S.D. – Presentation College 2009 nursing graduate Katie Tuff will be donating her own heart to the college’s anatomy lab after she received a heart transplant back in April.
“I am more than humbled at the kindness and generosity of Katie’s gift of her heart to Presentation College,” said Trisha Waldman, Associate Dean of the Health & Natural Science Division at PC. “Even during her most trying times, Katie was thinking of how others could benefit from what she was enduring. Her selflessness, courage, and faith during this journey is an inspiration.”
Katie knew right away she wanted to save the heart that was being removed, in hopes that it could be used to help educate nurses. Before she even entered the operating room she had arranged to have it preserved by the medical techs so that she could give it to Presentation College.
Katie, a native of Watertown, S.D., and Nurse in the Brain and Spine Institute at Avera McKennan, in Sioux Falls, wasn’t feeling herself earlier this year. She admitted to having trouble with stairs and other everyday activities.
Her training as a nurse led Katie to schedule an appointment with her doctor and when the news came back that Katie had restrictive cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition, she was put on the heart transplant list immediately.
In April of this year Katie had the transplant procedure and was just recently cleared to travel. One of Katie’s first trips since recovering will be this Thursday when she comes back to Presentation to donate her old heart.
Katie’s heart will be utilized when teaching the cardiovascular system to future healthcare professionals. Through examining a heart with restrictive cardiomyopathy, students will be able to compare and contrast the difference between a heart with healthy tissue and one that does not, as well as visualize and physically feel the difference in tissues. It is an experience that cannot be replicated through models or a textbook.