Long Island dad with heart problems offers cautionary tale about watching health

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- A dad on Long Island is sharing his story on the critical importance of getting the right doctors to check on your health - especially for those with serious conditions.

Chris Frey has had heart problems all his life, and he knows the importance of checks all too well from experience.

"Last Thanksgiving, actually I wasn't feeling that great," Frey said.

During Thanksgiving dinner, too much turkey or too much stuffing might lead to physical discomfort. But that's not what was going on with Frey and he ended up in the ER the day after.

"They said basically your heart is failing and the only way for you to get out of here is for you to get a new heart," Frey said.

That's when the bottom fell out for the 39-year-old father of two who was born with a heart condition. He's managed it all his life, but still found himself in full congestive heart failure and was transferred to Mount Sinai for specialized care.

"My wife got a call at 6 or 6:30 in the morning that I coded," Frey said. "It took them 45 minutes to get me back. And then I was put in an medical induced coma for about 10 days."



"He was so sick, there was no way out other than to start thinking about a heart transplant," said Dr. Ali Zaidi with Mount Sinai Hospital.

Because of his advanced condition, Frey was at the top of the transplant list.

"What we have to place a very close eye on is how are the kidneys doing, how is the liver doing, how is the brain doing, how is the rest of the body doing while we support the heart and wait for its replacement," said Dr. Aou Lala with Mount Sinai Hospital.

"These young adults in their 20s and 30s should start seeking care with specialized congenital adult heart specialist which they often don't," Zaidi said. "And when they fall out of care this happens. They get so sick that sometimes the ships sails so far out, there are really few options left."

When Frey was released six months later, he had not seen his two young songs since Thanksgiving.

When he was asked what he is now looking most forward to this holiday season, Frey simply said being alive and being with family.

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The owner hopes the generous customer returns so they can thank him for the kind gesture.



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