LARGO, Fla. — Largo Medical Center started its heart transplant program nearly a year ago. To date, the hospital has performed 17 heart transplants.
Local healthcare worker Brian Hobson needed a heart transplant nearly 2 months ago. Doctors said his heart was failing.
"The fact that he needed mechanical support with a temporary device called an 'impella' in order to survive to get to the heart transplant tells you how sick he was going into the heart transplant," said Dr. Andrew Boyle, Medical Director of Heart Transplant Program at Largo Medical Center.
Hobson was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy nearly a decade ago. He had surgery to repair a valve, but by December 2020 he was in heart failure.
Hobson said he had difficulty breathing.
"I would walk to work and by the time I would get to the time clock to swipe in, I was sweating. I felt like I had run a marathon," he said.
Hobson works as an anesthesia tech at Regional Medical Center of Bayonet Point in Hudson. He received a heart transplant at Largo Medical Center in February.
He does not have any details regarding the donor but has this message for their family.
"I just want to let them know how grateful I am for the gift and no bigger gift than that. Words can’t express, you know, I feel kind of emotional just talking about it...what a wonderful thing," he said.
The heart transplant program at Largo Medical Center provides a closer option to patients living in Pinellas County.
"Until now, the only available option for the whole west coast of Florida was at Tampa General so the patients for Pinellas County had to go across the bridge. People from down south, all the way down to Naples, had to go across the bridge," said Dr. Boyle.
Hobson said he is grateful for a second chance at life and he encourages others to become an organ donor.
"I have that extra drive to just not take life for granted anymore," Hobson said.