Albion man discharged from hospital after heart, liver transplant

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 February 2021 at 8:14 am

Matt Grammatico sees wife in person for first time since October

Provided photos: Matt and Rhonda Grammatico are able to hug each other Monday for the first time since Oct. 16, when Matt entered the Cleveland Clinic to prepare for a heart and liver transplant.

An Albion man who has been in the Cleveland Clinic since Oct. 16 waiting for a heart/liver transplant was released Monday afternoon and able to see his wife in person for the first time in nearly four months.

Matt Grammatico underwent a successful double transplant on Jan. 12 and 13.  Since then, he has continued to amaze doctors, coming off his respirator four hours after surgery and leaving the hospital less than four weeks later. He will have to stay at a nearby hotel with his wife Rhonda for a month, so he can report back to the Cleveland Clinic daily.

Rhonda has been in Cleveland since October but hasn’t been able to see her husband in the hospital due to Covid restrictions. She said it was their faith which got them through these challenging times.

“Our hearts were lifted to the Lord daily, hourly, asking for comfort for Matt, for healing, for a chance,” Rhonda said. “We knew the statistics. We knew the outcome we wanted was not a guarantee. We made a resolution to trust God’s plan. We put Matt in God’s hands and watched and we waited. And now here we are in the middle of an absolutely glorious story. A God story.”

Matt said in a phone call last week his wish, other than to see his wife, is to not be in pain, return home and get back to a normal life. He said he is still very weak and will focus on getting his strength back.

Rhonda Grammatico was very happy to pick up her husband from the hospital on Monday. He underwent a 19-hour heart/liver transplant on Jan. 12 and 13.

Grammatico, 48, worked as a truck driver for 17 years and then owned his auto repair business in Hamlin. His father, Mike Grammatico, was a long-time music teacher at Albion.

Matt was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. He had major heart surgery as a baby followed by an open-heart reconstructive surgery when he was 11. He has needed multiple procedures and surgeries throughout the next 30-plus years of his life.

During one of the surgeries as a child, he was unknowingly given a Hepatitis C tainted blood transfusion. The virus attacked his liver, undiscovered, for more than 20 years, further complicating his health. He has endured end-stage liver disease.

Grammatico’s health deteriorated in the past year, and Cleveland Clinic kept him in good enough condition for the surgery. He was in the operating room for about 19 hours.

He is very thankful for the medical team, the organ donor and for a supportive community.