Dr. Alin Gragossian – Our Transplant Warrior
I had the pleasure and privilege of having a wonderful conversation with Dr. Alin Gragossian, Donor Network West’s new Associate Medical Director, resident ER and ICU Doctor, and heart transplant recipient. I know; I said the same thing. How does Janice continue to run into such incredible people? How could she have experienced so much in her life in such a short time?
Alin was a 30-year-old emergency medicine resident feeling a little rundown in the weeks leading up to December 21st, 2018, the day she “almost died.” As a resident working long hours, it didn’t seem too abnormal. The persistent cough she had developed was annoying but not unbearable. However, over the next couple of days, it became harder for her to ignore her newfound trouble breathing.
When Alin went to the ERfor a chest x-ray, she learned, “My heart looked big. My heart rate was in the 140s, and I wasn’t breathing well,” Alin says. “They thought it could be pneumonia.” One of her attendings insisted that she stay overnight for further observation, a decision that turned out to be lifesaving.
Over the next month, Dr. Alin Gragossian went from a young doctor in her physical prime and on top of her health to a patient in dire need on the National transplant waiting list for a heart, to a transplant recipient and super advocate for organ donation and overall public health and safety.
“Anytime someone goes through something sudden, you almost start looking at your life in two different ways, before the event and after. Before the transplant, I always tried to live life to the fullest, as cliche as that sounds, but after the transplant, it made me realize how important it is to take EVERY moment that you have and appreciate it, even all the little things.”
This message that Alin left me during our conversation stayed with me for a while and was felt further when I discovered that she described her second opportunity through the gift of life as being “reborn with a new heart” on her blog ‘A Change of Heart, ‘ another platform she utilizes wonderfully to “help others in similar situations or those who want to learn about what happened to me,” alongside “advocating for organ donation, research, and charities– our donors deserve it.”
Today, she proudly serves her communities across the United States, primarily in California and New York. Dr. Alin has all the tools, compassion, and drive necessary to leave an incredible impact on the people of Northern California and Northern Nevada as the Associate Medical Director for Donor Network West.