“I’ve always kind of been waiting for that call,” says Phil Liaboe, remembering the night he and his wife, Lauren, found out that he would be getting a new heart. “That was a very good day for us.” After being diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare inflammatory disease that led to severe heart problems, Liaboe had reached a point where he could barely climb a flight of stairs when he got the call that changed his life.  

After that fateful call, Liaboe soon headed to the Klarman Building at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), where he underwent lifesaving surgery at the new Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) Heart Transplant Program. Liaboe is one of 23 individuals to have received a transplant through the program since its launch in 2023. Led by an experienced team of experts in all aspects of heart transplantation, the program takes an integrated approach, working closely with cardiovascular specialists across the BILH system to address the complex needs of patients like Liaboe. Every facet of the program is designed to put patients at ease and enable the delivery of exceptional care—from the highly-skilled interdisciplinary team of providers to the customized treatment spaces in the Klarman Building, where the program is housed. The Klarman Building, which opened its doors in Spring 2023, was made possible by philanthropy.

While being treated for a serious heart condition can be scary and overwhelming, Liaboe recalls taking comfort in the compassion and expertise of his care team. “I was struck really by how much these people know and the passion behind their work. The level of effort that they put in was extraordinary,” he says. He adds that the leading-edge technology in the Klarman Building provided him reassurance. “When you’re using the most up-to-date technology and software with people who have been trained on that, it can make a big difference and give patients peace of mind,” says Liaboe.   

According to Kamal Khabbaz, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at BIDMC, the program’s location in the Klarman Building enhances its ability to treat individuals with serious and complex conditions and has a tremendous impact on the patient experience. “It’s an environment that really allows healing, recovery, communication, productivity, and it’s all contiguous,” says Khabbaz. “The operating rooms are state-of-the-art. They allow us to use all kinds of technology and devices. Everyone is really being taken care of at a whole new level.” Liaboe who experienced the benefits of the space firsthand, has a deep appreciation for the difference it made in his treatment. “A place like the Klarman Building—it’s meant so much to me. It means a lot to the city of Boston. It has a big impact on a lot of people,” says Liaboe. 

As he recovers from transplant surgery, Liaboe is excited for what the future holds and the opportunity he now has to pay it forward. “I’m looking to give back for this sacred honor that I’ve been given.” He is profoundly grateful for both his exceptional care team and the generous individuals who supported the construction of the Klarman Building—and with it, the establishment of the program that gave him a new lease on life. “I feel very humbled,” says Liaboe, “I am so thankful for folks who supported this building and who work there, providing superb care.” 

Watch Liaboe share more about his experience below.

Make a gift to BIDMC today. 

If you would like more information or are interested in supporting the Heart Transplant Program or the Klarman Building, reach out to Noreen Mitchell, Vice President of Philanthropy at 617-667-1387 or by email.