Attendees at MCVIs 2023 VAD Reunion

An event recently hosted by Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute reunited heart failure patients with the caregivers that provided life-saving treatment, all to celebrate a milestone 10 years in the making.

It was an emotional scene when the individuals, all of whom had ventricular assist devices (VAD) implanted to pump blood when their own hearts couldn’t, returned to the campus of Memorial Regional Hospital. Their presence was a tangible reminder of the impact of the 75 VADs the Memorial program has implanted since it began in 2013. For each, the device provided a necessary bridge to get them to a heart transplant or was destination therapy for those that weren’t transplant candidates.

31-year-old Jade Abbott was one of the current patients in attendance to thank, she said, the team she ‘owes her life to.’ The Riviera Beach mother of four had already survived cancer and had recently given birth to twins when, with her heart only pumping at 3% efficiency, she was admitted to Memorial Regional Hospital. After spending several weeks in a coma and too sick to even be considered for an emergency heart transplant, Abbott had a VAD implanted. The equipment kept her alive and enabled her to resume life with a grateful family while she waits for a donor heart to become available.

“I couldn’t have imagined going through this anywhere else,” said Abbott. “These nurses pushed me through the worst times, when I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.”

Peter Powers, Memorial Regional Hospital’s CEO, was one of the speakers at the celebration event and had a message for Jade and all of the 75 individuals that have received an implant from Memorial.

“To our VAD patients, I’m inspired by your courage and determination. You’ve faced many challenges, and never gave up. Thank you for inspiring us all.”