Stories of Gratitude

At MedStar Harbor Hospital, gratitude is expressed each and every day from our friends, families, caregivers, community, and patients. These stories are from across MedStar Health system. Thank you for sharing your experience.


The A-Team of Heroes

Larry WashamLarry Washam, who retired from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers found his “A-Team” at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in 2006. After a hospital stay near his home in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Mr. Washam continued to experience a tremendous amount of tightening in his chest. Not one to complain, he waited and his condition continued to deteriorate, leading to a second emergency department trip.

The determination was made that Mr. Washam’s lung had collapsed and that he needed to be flown to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for evaluation and care. “I was absolutely terrified,” he stated.

When Mr. Washam arrived at MedStar Georgetown, Dr. Blair Marshall, a thoracic surgeon and pulmonary expert, evaluated his condition. Dr. Marshall quickly realized that the lung wasn't collapsed but rather that he was suffering from Bullous Disease.

Rushed to immediate surgery, Mr. Washam was fearful of losing his life. “Dr. Marshall held my right hand, and told me I’m going to bring you through this. It was unbelievable how calming that made me feel.” Now, he refers to his clinician team as his "heroes" and to MedStar Georgetown as the, "A-Team".

Six months after the initial surgery, Mr. Washam was again having troubles breathing. After running some tests, Dr. Marshall was concerned with the results and ran a sniff test which identified paralysis of the diaphragm on the right side of his lungs. In discussing the successful second surgery Mr. Washam stated, "You never forget the person who saves your life once. The difference in my case is that Dr. Marshall saved my life twice. I can't put into words my gratitude for her care."


Wallace and Lelia Beal Share the Blessing

Wallace and Lelia BealWallace Beal credits his MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center physician with saving his life a few years ago. After his wife Lelia was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the Beals turned to the oncology team at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. Through the care of Dr. Vinay Kumar Gupta, chief of surgical oncology at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and the entire cancer team, the Beals are again celebrating a lifesaving moment.

Feeling blessed themselves, Mr. and Mrs. Beal wanted to share the blessing with others and express their deep gratitude for the care and compassion they had experienced. Mrs. Beal decided to celebrate her birthday by inviting her friends and family to support the “We Care” fund at MedStar Franklin Square, which provides assistance to oncology patients in need. Gifts in honor of Mrs. Beal will be used to benefit others and to realize the Beals’ desire to share the blessing.


When Joe Bruno's daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she was given a 30% chance of survival. Today, Joe is grateful for the team at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital who worked together to save his daughter's life.


We invite you to participate in our culture of gratitude. What’s your story?