Heart transplant patient who counseled others finally going home
Produced By: WCVB-5 (ABC) Boston
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BOSTON — SEP 6, 2017 — There will be a lot of bittersweet tears Thursday at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where a patient who waited more than a year for a heart transplant will be discharged.
On his last full day in the hospital, one of Larry Williams’ best friends dropped by to say thank you.
The friends met as patients in the hospital’s heart unit, where the doctors and nurses say — just as much as they did — Williams saved lives.
“I am thanking him for I’m going to see my daughter get married,” friend David Townsend said.
A former college basketball player, Williams came to Tufts in the summer of 2016 with a heart so sick that he couldn’t leave until he got a new one.
“You know, the man upstairs said, ‘Just be patient,’” Williams said.
He was a patient through Christmas, New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day.
Because he’s 6 feet 8 inches, the right-sized heart was hard to find.
Instead of counting the days, he went for walks. He met other patients and held their hands while they waited, too.
“We’d sit up and we’d talk. I’d say, ‘Look, I’ve been around the block quite a few times, and what you’re about to see or go through, I’ve been through,’” Williams said.
He not only counseled patients, he advocated for them and convinced the hospital staff that something needed to change, such as the food menu.
“He took charge, and he met with various members of the kitchen,” Linday Ordway, NP, said. “And he talked with them about recipes.”
The staff started calling him The Governor (of Tufts MC’s Heart Transplant and Cardiac Transplant Center).
Then a few weeks ago, The Governor got a call: His heart was waiting.
Williams will be leaving the hospital that’s been his home for more than year.
“Not scared. But I feel like I’m losing a family,” he said.