ANTONIO Salvador had been waiting years to be told by doctors that a match had been found and he could undergo a desperately needed heart transplant.

But when the call finally came, it couldn’t have been at a more inconvenient moment. For the 39-year-old was at his wife’s bedside in the delivery ward and their first child was on its way.

After pausing for a moment to think, he took the decision to have the transplant and underwent surgery at the same time and in the same hospital as his wife gave birth.

“It took a few minutes to decide because it would mean missing the birth of his first child,” said a statement from Madrid’s Gregorio Marañon announcing the story of the successful transplant.

“When I woke up, there was twice the sense of delight,” said Salvador, who suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a hereditary disease of the heart muscle which can cause sudden heart failure.

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For his wife Ana Maria Gonzalez, 44, the timing in fact couldn’t have been better.

“I couldn’t believe that after 10 years we were going to receive the most wonderful thing in our lives at the same time that Antonio was receiving the life that he himself needed,” she said.

“Our son Samuel brought a heart with him for his dad.”

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Heart surgeon Manuel Ruiz Fernandez said the transplant had saved Salvador’s life, as his condition had been getting progressively worse: “He was born again on that day, and his son was born too. They will certainly remember that day.”

“The truth is that two very special moments for which we’d been waiting for a long time occurred at exactly the same time,” Salvador added.

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