Lung transplant recipient thanks hospital caregivers in a ‘cool’ way
Just two days after he was discharged from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Jim Weingarten, 64, and his extended family plan to say a unique thank you to the hospital staff who saved his life: They will bring a shaved ice truck to the hospital.
The frozen treats will be free to about 100 hospital employees who helped care for Weingarten before, during and after his double lung transplant. All others will be able to purchase shaved ice, and 25 percent of the sales will be directed to Donate Life, a nonprofit that encourages people to donate organs and tissue.
Weingarten, a resident of Diamond Bar, has an incurable lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which turns the lungs into scar tissue. For four years, he was tethered to an oxygen tank to help him breathe; for the past year, he was on a transplant list.
Weingarten was admitted to UCLA on March 7 with severe respiratory failure due to a respiratory syncytial virus that caused pneumonia. Eventually he was placed on a life support system called extra corporal membrane oxygenation, and in mid-April, he underwent a successful double-lung transplant. Weingarten was discharged from the hospital on April 27 and his doctor called his story an “amazing save.”
Weingarten was not able to eat much solid food during his almost two-month hospitalization, and he craved crushed ice with lime flavoring. So when the family was trying to think of a small way to show their gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, care team, transplant coordinators, lift team, housekeeping and others who played a role in saving his life, they decided a free shaved ice treat was the least they could do.
April is National Donate Life Month.
Wednesday, April 29
Gayley Avenue, south of Charles E. Young Drive South (map)
- Jim Weingarten and members of his extended family
- UCLA doctors, nurses, transplant coordinators, staff and others who helped take care of Weingarten
News vans are asked to park along the yellow curb on the east side of Gayley Avenue, south of Charles E. Young Drive South. Members of the media in personal vehicles may valet park at the front entrance to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on the west side of Westwood Plaza (map); UCLA will provide complimentary valet passes at the conclusion of the event.
Media must RSVP to the media contact.
Amy Albin, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, [email protected], 310-794-8672 (office), 310-597-5765 (cell)