Gerard Follys Second Chance

Gerard Follys Second Chance

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Gerard Folly’s Second Chance

A Really Bad Cough

Forty-seven-year-old Gerard Folly gradually lost the stamina needed for his job as director of operations for a major Washington, D.C., hotel. A persistent dry cough made him think he had a nagging cold. But swelling in his feet and ankles, a recent diagnosis of high blood pressure, and the feeling of being out of breath even after only minimal exertion all suggested something far more serious. Even when he was sitting still, “It looked like I just finished running a marathon,” he recalls.

Gerard was concerned that he would now require the same procedures as his father, Roger, who received a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in 2007 and a heart transplant a year later. Gerard turned to MedStar Washington Hospital Center and the same team of specialists at who had helped his father, including Samer Najjar, M.D, director of MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Advanced Heart Program. The team confirmed that Gerard would require extensive treatment to repair his heart condition.

After discussing his options with Dr. Najjar, Gerard decided a transplant offered the best long-term solution for himself and his family. He was placed on the transplant list in July 2015, and once his heart function dropped to a dangerous level, he entered MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in September.

A Second Chance

After nearly two months, Dr. Najjar told Gerard that a suitable donor organ was on its way. “He said, ‘Today’s the day for you,’” Gerard recalls. “It took me a moment to realize that he was serious, and that the transplant was really going to happen.”

A little more than 24 hours later, Gerard was in the Cardiac ICU’s recovery area. “I mainly remember my wife and nurses telling me that it was over, and I was OK,” Gerard says. “All I could do was listen to what they said, and be patient.”

Over the next few days and weeks, Gerard worked with MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s medical staff to regain his strength. “Everyone moved with confidence, which made me feel confident about what was going on” Gerard says, adding that his recovery is now proceeding faster than had been expected.

"I feel happy as a lark,” he says. “If I could do a cartwheel, I would.”

Have any questions?

We are here to help! Contact us for more information about MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute or to schedule an appointment. Call us at 202-877-3627.

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