I’ve had the privilege of witnessing many shining moments at the Brigham throughout 2016, but one that stands out for me is attending the Heart & Vascular Center’s recent event honoring some of our heart transplant recipients and the milestones they have achieved.

I can’t properly describe the emotions I experienced as I listened to the remarkable narratives of patients who have been living with a donor heart for two decades or more. I can rarely remember feeling more proud than when they described what they referred to as a “second chance at life,” reciting their most meaningful experiences – marriages, anniversaries, graduations, and the birth of grandchildren.

A particularly poignant moment occurred when a donor’s mother shared the story of the unbreakable bond  she has formed with the man who received her son’s heart in 2007. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when she spoke about what it meant to her family to be able to meet the donor recipient and listen to her son’s heart beat once again.

The event and the patients’ reflections were powerful reminders of why we are here and why each of us has chosen to work in health care. Coming together across disciplines and in many roles, we are able to give people the most precious gift of a second lease on life.   That is the Brigham way.

Ron M. Walls, MD
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, BWHC