Now the 35-year-old California father is waiting for a heart transplant but in the meantime he has a portable artificial heart.
Washington carries the power pack for his artificial heart in his backpack.
The artificial heart beats 120 times a minute, and has a battery pack that runs for two hours before needing to be plugged in.
Washington's 4-year-old son likes his "bionic" dad.
"He likes it, he thinks it's cool but he still thinks his toys are cooler," said Washington.
The pump has been used 1,100 times, as a bridge to a transplant.
The University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are both certified to use the artificial heart.