Apartment for Transplant Families Result of Gratitude, World-Class Care

In 2005, as Richard Nodel was gravely ill and preparing for his second liver transplant, his family gathered at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. This included his 85-year-old mother, who travelled from Israel to be present for his procedure.

“She was very elderly at the time,” Richard recalls. “I was so sick, and it was so important to her to be here for my transplant. She didn’t want to leave my side, so she slept on the floor of the waiting room.”

Fortunately, Richard’s transplant was a success. More than 16 years later, he attributes his survival — and all the experiences of life he’s enjoyed since that day — to the dedication, perseverance and care he received from the Henry Ford Transplant team, including Henry Ford Transplant Director Marwan Abouljoud, M.D., and Associate Medical Director, Kimberly Brown, M.D.


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After his procedure, Richard felt deeply motivated to remain involved with the transplant program at Henry, supporting the health system as a leader on numerous boards and contributing philanthropically to help the Institute become even stronger.

“I’ve chosen to give back because I want to show my gratitude, but it’s more than that. Giving was so important for my healing,” Richard said. “Once you've gone through something as traumatic as a serious illness, sometimes just saying, ‘thank you and goodbye,’ feels terribly inadequate.

In September, Richard, and members of his family joined Dr. Abouljoud, Dr. Brown and other Henry Ford leaders to celebrate the opening of a newly-renovated apartment on the campus of Henry Ford Hospital. The renovation was made possible by the Nodels’ generous philanthropic support.

The apartment will be a dedicated space where visiting families can stay while their loved ones undergo transplant surgeries. As Richard toured the space, he reflected on the beautiful job done with the renovation, while noting that having a resource will make it easier, and more comfortable, for other families to stay near their loved ones.

It will be especially valuable for those who may not have resources for long-term hotel stays.
For Richard’s wife, Pam, the gift to create the apartment is an opportunity to thank Richard’s physicians, and also to ensure other families are well-cared-for as they live through the stressful process of a transplant procedure.

“We had been married for just two days when Richard went into the hospital for a check-up and we found out he needed a second transplant” Pam said. “He was so sick, at one point they told me he only had 24 hours to live. And the fact that everybody kept on pushing – Dr. Abouljoud and Dr. Brown and everybody on down — they saved Richard's life, but they were also there to help me get through it. We've been married now for 17 years. Truly, the team at Henry Ford gave me the best gift, and you've got to pay it forward.”

As he has progressed from being a patient of the Transplant to an advocate and leader, Richard said he remains impressed and inspired by the excellent care provided to patients across all walks of life, all of whom are truly in need.

“The people that make up Henry Ford have been so inculcated with a culture of caring and humanity in everything they do when it comes to patient care,” he said. “As a donor, you can be assured that your dollars are really going to go toward achieving a great end.”


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