Heart Failure, Heart Transplant, Heart Transplant

Patti and Bob Goodman

It Takes a Village to Heal a Heart

A heart transplant is not just an eight-hour surgery. It is also the coming together of doctors, nurses and support staff to prepare the patient before surgery and also be there for the patient and family throughout the recovery. And for Bob Goodman, all of these people take up a large part of his new heart.

Bob was placed on the transplant list the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with his wife Patti by his side. They remember the moment that their nurse, Mia, came to tell them that a heart was available. At first, a feeling of disbelief ran through them, but that was quickly followed by reserved excitement. High-fiving friends as he headed down to surgery, Bob was ready for what was ahead: a long road to recovery, but a road leading to a newfound life.

That recovery began the moment he left the operating room and headed to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). Heavily sedated, this is a time that Bob does not remember, but one that his wife Patti and daughter Stephanie remember well. "The SICU staff was prepared. The nurses in the unit were the most competent, caring, professional individuals that I have ever met," Patti says. "Day in and day out they educated us on every single thing that was happening." 

Not only did the nursing staff take care of his physical ailments, but they also educated, encouraged, and in many ways, became a constant in Bob's life. Friendly faces such as Rachael Cress and Stephanie Barlow, nurses on the Silverstein 10 floor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania , will forever be engrained in Bob's memory. As Bob says, "Their care from the moment I woke up and throughout my days in the hospital was more than just clinical. They were prepared for the journey that a transplant patient was on, they had done this before. The education they provided, their encouragement, knowledge and passion is something I will take with me." 

What goes into our bodies makes a difference, especially in transplant patients.

After discharge from the hospital Bob was having trouble gaining weight. He had become a diabetic secondary to the steroid treatments needed during heart failure. Enter registered dietician Kathleen King. Her knowledge of this subset of patients was crucial in Bob's recovery. A personalized plan was put together and Bob was able to gain weight and energy.

A heart transplant patient receives care from over 20 different disciplines while in the hospital.

The medications of a transplant patient can be overwhelming. It is important that patients and their caregivers know the roles of each medication. Bob's education began during his post-transplant hospital stay, but that education continued with Mieke Maslanek, heart transplant nurse practitioner and Bob's post-transplant coordinator. 

Continuity of Care is Important

Throughout Bob's journey, he never felt alone. There were people with him at every turn to offer guidance, support and wisdom. 
Nearly one year later, Bob continues to have follow-up appointments with physicians Dr. David Callans, Dr. Lee Goldberg and Dr. Jessica Dine, and Mieke is always available when a question arises or to coordinate care.

They were with him in the beginning and continue to be there every step of the way. 

Read more about Bob Goodman's heart failure and transplant story

Bob talks about what it was like living with heart failure

More Patient Stories

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