First Baby To Have A Heart Transplant In Nebraska Will Be Released Soon
CREATED Apr. 21, 2013
Omaha, NE -- A Council Bluffs newborn has received the gift of life in the form of a human heart.
One-month-old Lainey Wilkinson is the first baby to get a heart transplant at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
"There is something terribly unnerving about being the first of anything," said Dr. Robert Spicer, the Cardiology Clinical Service Chief at Children's.
On Sunday, Action 3 News spoke with Lainey's doctors and parents about the surgery.
"It began beating on its own, and we just looked down and said, 'Look at that happy little heart. That thing is just going great,'" said Dr. James Hammel, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Clinical Service Chief at Children's.
When Lainey's mother, Jessica, was five months pregnant with her, she and her husband Jeff found out their baby's heart had not developed the way it should.
"With us, we didn't know what was going to happen next or what they were going to diagnose her with next," said Jessica Wilkinson. "Everything just kept coming and coming."
For the remainder of Jessica's pregnancy, doctors monitored her very closely.
On Mar. 22, Lainey was born.
Two weeks later, doctors began the nine hour surgery that would give Lainey the gift of life.
"To be able to have that organ live on in someone else really means that two people live," said Spicer. "Every time I listen to Lainey's heart, I hear the heartbeat of someone who has died, but lives on inside Lainey."
It's a gift her doctors look forward to giving other children with heart defects.
"It's going to be an important tool that we can use to care for children with all sorts of cardiac problems," said Hammel.
Doctors said once Lainey is released from the hospital, she will have regular checkups and will take medicine to make sure her body doesn't reject the heart.
"We anticipate with careful control of her medication and regular follow-ups, we have decades and decades of good life," said Spicer.
Doctors said Lainey could be out of the hospital in the next couple of weeks.