Newlywed Hospital-Bound Man Survives Surgery

Just three days after he kissed the bride in a dream wedding at Einstein Medical Center, Pedro Ortiz underwent open heart surgery on Monday. The Philadelphia man and his bride, Shawna Ortiz, were racing against the clock as they fought to be pronounced husband and wife before Pedro underwent the risky procedure.

On Monday, Shawna received the news she had been hoping to hear: the operation, which gave Pedro an implant to support his heart as he waits for a transplant, was a success.

“Pedro did great, no complications,” Shawna says. “[He’s] in a little pain… [but he’s] nodding and making hand gestures.”

This procedure marks another triumph on a long, bumpy road for the newlyweds. Since Pedro's diagnosis of congestive heart failure, the couple have lived in-and-out of hospitals. As he was about to undergo open heart surgery, Pedro made one request: to marry the love of his life. The couple applied for a marriage license on June 20 but was initially rejected by the Marriage License Bureau.

"I mean, prisoners can ask for a last meal. Why can’t we ask for a marriage license?” Shawna asked.

After working with Einstein Medical Center and the Marriage License Bureau, Pedro and Shawna were finally able to receive a marriage license.

“He was crying for half an hour, he was so excited,” Shawna says. “I had to calm him down so his blood pressure wouldn’t get too high, but it felt like we had just won the lottery.”

But instead of a small ceremony, the nurses and staff of Einstein decided to throw the couple a dream wedding, complete with a cake, decorations, dress and wedding arch.

The two professed their love for one another “in sickness and in health” in front of their friends, family and the Einstein team on Friday. They spent the weekend together at Einstein as husband and wife before Pedro underwent surgery.

“[Our wedding] really was the best day of our lives,” Shawna says. “It was a dream come true.”

As she waits for her husband to open his eyes, Shawna looks forward to their long married lives together. "I hope he wakes up soon. I miss him.”

A online fundraiser has been started to help Pedro and Shawna with the various expenses resulting from the extended hospitalizations and the surgery.

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