Heart Transplant Patient Service Coordinator, Penn Transplant Institute

Ashley Wetherell headshot

"I'm with our patients through every step of their heart transplant journey. I coordinate most of their appointments, so we spend a lot of time talking. I get to know a lot about them in those conversations, and vice versa. You can give me a little hint about any patient, and I can tell you who it is.

The stories I hear and people I meet are incredible. One of my favorites involves a couple who couldn't have children. One of them got a heart transplant at Penn. A year later they reached out to the donor family and learned the donor heart came from a woman who had several children. The couple met the donor's family and sent all the children Christmas presents.

I remember another patient who was on the younger side and came to Penn from across the country. He waited for so long in the hospital for a heart and lung transplant. I ran to see him the minute I found out organs had been found - his face lit up when he saw me. To be there and cheer him on as he got ready for this second chance at life was an incredible moment.

Greeting patients and asking how they're doing, hearing how they're doing, it is my favorite part of the job. I don't have a clinical position, but I still get to closely interact with our patients, be part of a team that saves lives every single day. I wouldn't even say it's a job because this work gives me purpose."

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