Daryl Williams

In 2000, a domino effect of health problems left Augustan Daryl Williams literally gasping for air.

Unable to catch his breath, Mr. Williams went to a clinic where he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Two weeks on antibiotics did little to help his symptoms, and an echocardiogram was performed to get to the root of the problem.

The diagnosis was not good.

“I had a weakened heart muscle and an enlarged heart – it was the size of a grapefruit,” Mr. Williams said.

Then, the news got even worse.

Multiple physicians came to Mr. Williams’ bedside, and they all had the same treatment plan – a heart transplant.

It wasn’t until Mr. Williams was admitted to University Hospital’s Emergency Department that things began to turn around.

Mr. Williams was in the hospital for 27 days before David Clark, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist who practices at University Hospital, first came on the case.

Physicians were still leaning toward a heart transplant, but Dr. Clark had a different idea.

“He looked over my case and said he thought I could be treated with medication and lifestyle changes, nutritional changes,” Mr. Williams said.

From there, Mr. Williams was introduced to University Hospital Congestive Heart Failure Program, where clinicians provide patient education and help them learn to manage their disease.

Mr. Williams has nothing but high praise for the staff of the CHF program, especially program coordinator Sally Poole, MN, CFNP.

“I love her to death; she’s like a second mother to me,” he said.

Through the CHF program, Mr. Williams began an exercise program, which proved to be quite a challenge for him.

“My heart was so weak I really couldn’t exercise – I had to use a walker,” he said. “I was on oxygen and I only had 15-20 heart function.”

Over time, Mr. Williams found himself becoming stronger and less dependent on external assistance.

“My heart’s up to 55 percent now and I don’t use oxygen anymore,” he said. “I don’t have to use the walker anymore, but I kept it as a reminder of what I’ve come from.”

Mr. Williams credits the unwavering support of University’s CHF program for his remarkable improvement and his continued good health.

“I thank God for University,” he said. “They’ve been a lifesaver for me. It’s just one of the best-staffed hospitals anywhere.”

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