A Heartbeat Away
His throat still scratchy and sore, Jim Talbot of Nashville lays in his hospital bed at Saint Thomas West Hospital, a part of Ascension. He's a little weak, but mostly in great spirits and feeling remarkably well. "I remember the nurse waking me up”, said Talbot. "She said you remember me? I said yes”.
At 42, Talbot, who survived Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma eight years before, was facing another life-threatening situation. Doctors don't know for certain, but the radiation which cured his cancer could have made his heart weaker. In early 2016, Talbot collapsed and had a massive heart attack. Medical personnel performed CPR for nearly 45 minutes. Fortunately, he didn't suffer any brain damage or organ failure after essentially being dead for nearly an hour. He did, however, need a new heart and he needed it right away.
Within a few days, Jim got a new heart at Saint Thomas West. Dr. Ashok Babu and a team of surgeons, nurses, and medical staff worked around the clock to perform the hospital’s first heart transplant in five years since re-launching the program.
Six weeks after surgery, Jim is walking four miles, four days a week. "First it was just a mile or so. I've just gotten stronger as time has progressed", said Talbot. As he slowly transitions into a life of normalcy, not a day goes by where he doesn't think about the donor's family and the pain they've suffered. "I can't express how grateful I am”, says Jim fighting back tears. He plans on writing the family a letter.