Providence celebrates 3rd anniversary of heart transplant program with patients, families

Providence Health recently celebrated the 3rd anniversary of its heart transplant program.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:38 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Providence Health recently celebrated the third anniversary of its heart transplant program. It marks a major milestone for the team and the patients who received a new lease on life.

“The ultimate gift of life, which I’m grateful for,” Scott Buell, a heart transplant patient, said.

According to Buell, he’s a walking miracle.

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“It is hard to believe. Just the thought of taking out my old heart and putting it in,” Buell said.

He started experiencing health problems in 2006, but with treatment, wasn’t slowing down. A former marine, he became an Oregon State Police trooper in 2016. And that love for adventure led to him finding the love of his life, Mary.

“we got married in 2018, at the time, he was actually doing really well. He was hardly on any medications,” Mary Buell, Scott’s wife, said. “Like rafting, and mountain biking, and playing soccer together.”

Then things took a drastic turn last summer before he received a life-saving treatment at just 40-years-old, thanks to the team at the Providence Heart Institute.

“On September 21, had a heart transplant,” Scott Buell said.

Gary Moore was in his 60s when he received a mechanical heart pump from the team at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Now about seven years later, Gary said he’s cherishing every moment he gets with loved ones.

“I got to see the birth of my two great-granddaughters. Obviously, saw my grandson get married,” Gary Moore, a ventricular assist device (VAD) patient, said. “Baseball games, I take them to soccer practice, and of course, we got to farm.”

These are just two of the dozens of families who gathered Sunday to celebrate the third anniversary of Providence’s heart transplant program. A heartwarming moment for the team to see their patients thrive.

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“It’s personal for all of us to want to help give families a chance to fight back against a really tough disease,” Dr. Daniel Westerdahl said.

“We do ask a lot of them, and we get to know each other very well,” Dr. Jacob Abraham said. “We really begin to feel like they are a part of our extended family.”

The program has performed more than 60 heart transplants to date. And leaders said they’re just getting started.