After long wait, Everett paramedic gets a new heart

SEATTLE — Steve Goforth’s wait is over.

On Sunday afternoon, the 37-year-old Everett firefighter and paramedic got the page he had been waiting months to hear.

Medical teams at the University of Washington Medical Center told him to report immediately so they could begin preparing him for a heart transplant.

Goforth was diagnosed earlier this year with congestive heart failure.

The surgery began around midnight. It took surgeons about five hours to complete the transplant, Gloria Wildeman, a family friend, said Monday evening. She said she spent part of Sunday in the waiting room with Goforth’s family.

Wildeman said she received several updates on Monday from his wife, Julie Goforth.

“He’s progressing as they would expect him to progress,” Wildeman said.

“He’s strong and 37 years old. He’s got a lot going for him.”

Goforth’s health problems began while on vacation in Disneyland in December, when he was feeling a bit under the weather.

By early January, he began coughing up blood, and he knew something might be seriously wrong.

In mid-February, he was rushed first to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, later transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and eventually sent to the University of Washington Medical Center. There doctors told him he would need a new heart.

During the wait, Gofoth was kept alive by a machine that circulated blood through his body until a donor heart was found.

Goforth wrote a blog on his wait for a heart transplant. It details one previous trip the family made to the UW Medical Center last month. That heart turned out to be bruised, he wrote, and doctors called off the surgery.

Reporter Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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