17 y/o girl who received wrong organs gets a second chance

  1. DURHAM, N.C. (Feb. 20) - Doctors located an organ donor early Thursday for a 17-year-old girl clinging to life after she received a heart and lungs that didn't match her blood type, a spokeswoman said.

    Jesica Santillan was to undergo organ transplant surgery Thursday morning at Duke University Hospital.

    The procedure has a 50-50 success rate, said Renee McCormick, a spokeswoman for a charity that is helping pay the girl's medical bills.

    McCormick called the new organs an ''incredibly good match.''

    ''We are elated,'' she told CNN. ''The family is overjoyed.''

    The organ was found at 1 a.m. Thursday.

    McCormick said she didn't know who donated the organs, but they were donated directly to Jesica, who mistakenly received organs incompatible with her type O-positive blood during a transplant Feb. 7 at Duke University Hospital.

    Her condition steadily deteriorated after the botched operation, and she suffered a heart attack Feb. 10 and a seizure on Sunday. A machine has kept her heart and lungs going. A scan Wednesday found no signs of brain damage, McCormick said.

    Jesica's body was rejecting the new organs because of the different blood types. Antibodies in her blood attacked the organs as foreign objects.

    The lead surgeon said Wednesday he believed appropriate checks were made before the organs were offered to the girl.

    ''I am heartbroken about what happened to Jesica. My focus has been on providing her with the heart and lungs she needs so she could lead a normal life,'' Dr. James Jaggers said in a statement.

    Jaggers said he told the girl's parents immediately after the operation that an error had occurred, but the statement didn't indicate when he realized it happened.

    The organs were flown from Boston to Durham and included paperwork correctly listing the donor's type-A blood, said Sean Fitzpatrick of the New England Organ Bank of Newton, Mass., which sent the first set of heart and lungs.

    Two Duke surgeons who had patients with type-A positive blood declined the organs but a third doctor requested them for Jesica, according to Carolina Donor Services, an organ procurement organization. The organization did not identify the doctor.

    Duke hospital officials had no comment Wednesday on why doctors sought the type-A organs for Jesica.

    Jesica, who is from a small town near Guadalajara, Mexico, needed the transplant because a heart deformity kept her lungs from getting oxygen into her blood. Doctors said she would have died within six months without a transplant.

    AP-NY-02-20-03 0754EST

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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  2. 116 Comments

  3. by   mother/babyRN
    I hope they operated for free...Poor girl..Many prayers..
  4. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by mother/babyRN
    I hope they operated for free...Poor girl..Many prayers..
    they might've being doin' it anyway...she's "from a small town near Guadalajara, Mexico".....
  5. by   passing thru
    Lets' all pray for her. The surgery is ongoing as we write. It started at 8 a.m. EST. The parents hopes are up again, I pray God hears our prayers. How could her family live through another setback after hopes are renewed?
  6. by   deespoohbear
    Originally posted by mother/babyRN
    I hope they operated for free...Poor girl..Many prayers..
    My guess is the whole bill will be "eaten" by Duke University Hospital. And if the girl survives probably any medical bills R/T to this whole ordeal.....poor child.....

    I am not that familar with transplants and such, but will her body be able to recover from the massive assualt it launched when it rejected the 1st of organs? I just can't imagine the body being able to heal after such an ordeal, even with the correct blood type organs now transplanted....anyone familar with transplants who could share some knowledge with us?
  7. by   kaycee
    I read she has been having seizures and postering. They think she may have had too much brain damage. I hope they are wrong. My thoughts are with her and her family!
  8. by   TheBrainMusher
    they said as of yesterday afternoon no brain damage (I thought that is what the article said)

    "The 17-year-old has a 50 percent chance of survival in the second operation, doctors say. She showed signs of recovery on Wednesday, said a spokeswoman for a foundation set up in Jesica's name.

    "Yesterday the CAT scan results were clearly insignificant, not showing any brain damage to speak of," Jesica's Hope Chest spokeswoman Renee McCormick said. "She did squint her eyes when her mother asked her ... if she could hear her." A CAT scan, now called CT, uses multiple X-ray images to construct views of organs.

    The organs for Thursday's operation had been donated in Jesica's name, the spokeswoman said, although it was not clear exactly how they became available. "

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/02/20...ror/index.html
  9. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Mshheaddoc
    The organs for Thursday's operation had been donated in Jesica's name, the spokeswoman said, although it was not clear exactly how they became available. "

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/02/20...ror/index.html
    THAT sounds....uh....odd.
  10. by   sunnygirl272
    U.S. National - AP

    Transplant Patient Gets New Heart, Lungs By WILLIAM L. HOLMES, Associated Press Writer

    DURHAM, N.C. - A 17-year-old girl underwent a second heart-lung transplant Thursday, two weeks after a botched transplant with organs of the wrong blood type left her near death.

    The family of Jesica Santillan was elated early Thursday when it learned that donated organs had been shown to be a good match, said supporters who raised funds for the girl.


    Jesica, who has type O-positive blood, was given a heart and lungs from a donor with type A blood in a transplant Feb. 7 at Duke University Hospital. Her condition steadily deteriorated as her body rejected the new organs.


    A second set of organs was located late Wednesday and transplanted into Jesica in a four-hour operation Thursday morning, hospital spokesman Jeffrey Molter said.


    Renee McCormick, spokeswoman for a charity raising money for Jesica's care, said her heart was beating on its own afterward. Molter said she was still breathing with the help of a ventilator and was in critical condition, which is standard in such cases.


    "This is a very serious surgery," Molter said. "We are hopeful that these organs will support her."


    The procedure has a 50-50 success rate, said Mack Mahoney, a leader in fund-raising efforts to pay for the girl's medical care.


    "So far, so good," McCormick said. "Her parents feel some relief right now. Everyone is incredibly hopeful and we're just so pleased, so thankful."


    Lloyd Jordan of Carolina Donor Services said the donor family had requested anonymity. He said the donation was not "directed"-that is, the family did not specifically request that the organs be given to Jesica.



    "We consider all donors and their families to be heroes," Jordan said. "These are the people who make the gift of life possible."


    Jesica, who is from a small town near Guadalajara, Mexico, needed a transplant because a heart deformity kept her lungs from getting oxygen into her blood. Doctors said she would have died within six months without it.


    The fact that a new set of compatible organs became available as Jesica neared death was "an amazingly good thing," Molter said. He noted that 80 percent of people awaiting transplants die before organs can be found.


    "I think the word is getting out about organ donations. And in some ways, I think Jesica is a very lucky little girl," he said.


    Heart-lung transplants have been routine since the mid-1980s. About 70 percent of recipients survive at least one year, and 40 percent are still alive after five years. Common causes of death include failure of the transplanted organs and lung inflammation.


    Jesica was not out of the woods after Thursday's operation. She suffered kidney damage and may have brain damage or paralysis from the machines used to keep her alive in the two weeks after the first transplant, Mahoney said.


    "We'll have to deal with those if they occur," he said.


    Dr. James Jaggers, lead surgeon on the first transplant, performed the second operation Thursday, and Mahoney said he doesn't blame the doctor for the failure of the first.

    "We have faith in the surgeon," he said. "We feel there was a grave mistake made. We do not question his skill as a surgeon."

    Molter said several times that Duke acknowledges its mistake.

    "We do apologize again for the blood type mismatch," he said. "That did in fact make her condition worse."

    Jaggers said Wednesday he believed appropriate checks were made before the first set of organs was offered to the girl. After that surgery, the hospital added another level of verification for organ compatibility, and Molter said the new procedures were followed before Thursday's surgery.

    A spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which matches organs and recipients, said her organization has asked Duke, along with the two organ procurement agencies that helped arrange the donation, to report to it on the events leading to Jesica's first transplant surgery. Recommendations for corrective action could follow, spokeswoman Anne Paschke said.

    Duke must also answer to the agency that accredits hospitals, which investigates unusual deaths that might signal a problem with the hospital's system.

    Those probes are likely to take several weeks.

    ___

  11. by   rachel h
    That does sound odd that the organs were donated in Jessica's name and it's not sure how they became available... that is extremely divine intervention if you ask me...

    I don't know if this makes any sense, but I think it's so scary/fascinating/amazing that the human body is just a bunch of 'parts' and without certain ones you would cease to be you... guess that's why I went into nursing.

    I hope that girl makes it...
  12. by   RN2B2005
    The first thing I said to my husband when I heard that they had found another set of organs was, "Wow, who did they kill to get those"?

    I was only half-joking--I mean, how is it that the girl is on a waiting list for over a year for the first heart/lung transplant and then bam! Duke is able to find a heart/lung donor of suitable size and tissue type less than 48 hours after this hit the news? Especially when you factor in the knowledge that Duke initially denied any error, and tried to keep it on the hush-hush for at least a week? Hmmm...

    Also, Duke University was NOT doing the surgery for free (at least, the first time around); the girl and her family have been living with a local family that is sponsoring them or something like that. There's an online fundraising effort that was ongoing prior to the transplant catastrophe.
  13. by   Tweety
    Originally posted by mother/babyRN
    I hope they operated for free...Poor girl..Many prayers..
    Free and then some. While they haven't officially filed any litigation, they have obtained a malpractice lawyer. Which is odd because they are asking the same surgeon to do the operation again (under supervision).

    Sad situation all around. But rest assured, this whole family will want for nothing the rest of their lives. But regardless, you can't put a price tag on a life.
  14. by   canoehead
    I imagine that the donor organization was part of the screw up and that she would be immediately be moved to the top of the list.

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