Rev. Mahurin officiates wedding weeks after livesaving surgery

WeddingA wedding isn’t really a wedding in the Mahurin family if the Rev. Randy Mahurin doesn’t preside over the event. He’s conducted the ceremonies for his three children and countless other family members. So when his granddaughter, Ashley Crocker, set the date, she expected her grandfather to be there.

But heart troubles landed the reverend in Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

“The doctors had wanted me to come in for several weeks and I was putting it off until after the wedding,” says Mahurin. “I wanted to be there because I knew she wanted me to be there, but I couldn’t make it.”

Mahurin, 64, was suffering from heart failure. With his heart too weak to pump on its own, he needed a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to keep his heart pumping and deliver oxygen rich blood throughout his body.

Two weeks after receiving his LVAD, Mahurin felt better, but wasn’t ready to leave the hospital to attend the wedding. So, concierge services went to work, ensuring Mahurin could still play a special part in the ceremony.

“The staff helped us to put together a video so I was able to actually pronounce them man and wife on a large screen TV at the wedding,” says Mahurin.

Then the next morning, Ashley and her groom, Brady Floyd, made the trip from Salem, Mo., and stood before Mahurin in full wedding attire at the hospital chapel to receive the sacred wedding blessing in person.

Transforming the hospital into a wedding chapel was the work of Mary Gresick, a concierge services representative for the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center. She used candles from her son’s wedding and worked with the Barnes-Jewish gift shop for bows and flowers.

“It’s my job to help with a patient’s non-clinical needs. To do that, we just listen to our patients and find out what’s important to them and try to make it happen,” says Gresick. “For me it was so rewarding. I’m really glad we made the effort because the bride and groom said their wedding here was just as special as their wedding the night before. And we wanted to do everything we could to help Randy still be a part of the special day.”

“I told Mary that the kids wanted to do something to include Randy in their day,” says Janace Mahurin, the reverend’s wife of 46 years. “Mary just took it and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do for you, because this is important.’”

“It wouldn’t have been quite as elaborate had it not been for Mary. I think it shows such a beautiful heart of compassion,” says Mahurin. “She set up candles and flowers, everything she could think of they were able to do it. I’m so thankful for their efforts.”

Even though he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, Mahurin knows his LVAD procedure came at just the right time.

“I didn’t want to be in the hospital. I wanted to be there,” said Mahurin. “But, because I’m here today, I was strong enough to fulfill this wish for my granddaughter.”

“Mr. Mahurin is on the transplant list, but living with heart failure takes its toll on the body,” says Scott Silvestry, MD, former surgical director of heart transplant at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center. “The LVAD acts as a bridge to transplant and allows the body to heal from those devastating effects. His body can now get stronger and return to a healthy state, which in turn means we can achieve excellent results when the time comes for his transplant.”

While the journey to that stronger and healthier state continues, Mahurin is grateful for the continuing connection he shares with his family.

“I tried to explain I would do whatever they needed, but it wasn’t necessary to try and accommodate me,” says Mahurin. “But, it wasn’t about me. It was about them and it was their wish to have me bless their marriage. It shows the bond that our family has together. And I’m grateful to everyone here who had a role in fulfilling that wish.”

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Category: Heart & Vascular, Patient Stories

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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