Doctors removed his heart because it was failing and replaced it with a completely artificial heart.
"If I touch my chest, I can feel the valves and I can hear the valves. The clicking. They make like, a click, click, click. You know, kind of like a clicking sound. But other than that, I don't feel anything."
His new heart is made of plastic and titanium and it's keeping him alive while he waits for a live donor heart.
"It replaces both the left ventricle as well as the right ventricle. It supplies all the circulation to the entire body," says Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA Medical Center.
In the past, he would have been tethered to a machine the size of a refrigerator and stuck in the hospital while he waited. But now, that technology has advanced to the point where it's small enough to fit into a backpack, which he wears everywhere he goes. It weighs 13 to 14 pounds, which provides the air to open and close the valves in the heart.
Now, Washington can recuperate at home, which provides another benefit: a decreased risk of infection.
The longest someone has lived with a total artificial heart is three years.
Eventually, as technology improves, this may become a permanent solution.