A 7-month-old baby diagnosed with a rare condition got a miracle heart transplant after he had “stared death in the face” twice, as his parents put it. Shortly after his birth, infant Lincoln Seay was diagnosed with a rare birth defect at his heart.
He required a series of surgeries to keep his tiny heart going though it was located in the wrong place in his body. Despite the interventions, the organ was still refusing to cooperate, so surgeons thought that a heart transplant would be the best solution.
Rob Seay, the baby’s father, recounted how his family had to relocate from Alaska to Seattle to give the little one a chance for survival. According to his parents, the infant had a cardiac arrest, but hospital staffers were able to bring him back. His father recalls that in those moments the baby’s skin color turned purple.
Dr. Michael McMullen, the chief surgeon that performed the risky transplant on Lincoln at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, remembers how his team was convinced that the infant would die on them. But just before the baby ‘fell off the edge,’ a miracle heart transplant could be performed as an organ finally became available.
“He’s been pretty sick and getting sicker,”
Lincoln’s family found that an organ was readily available for a transplant four days after their child went into cardiac arrest. The baby’s mother, Mindy Seay, recalls she went through a ‘roller-coaster’ of emotions: she was shocked over her baby’s cardiac arrest, she was thrilled when a new heart became available, but she was also sad for the loss of the donor’s family.
But the baby was not out of harm’s way just yet. Moments before surgery he underwent a second cardiac arrest. Fortunately, surgeons were able to connect him to a heart bypass machine which was supposed to help keep his heart pumping during the procedure.
McMullen noted that the entire procedure went astonishingly quick. He explained that putting a patient of his size on the machine would require about two hours, but in his case doctors managed to do it in 12 minutes while they were also struggling to do CPR.
Surgery took several hours, but the improvements were visible with the naked eye hours after the procedure. The baby’s mother said his color was a vibrant pink right after waking up from surgery. He was also so energetic that his parents nicknamed him the Hulk. Before the transplant, the baby was so exhausted that he fell asleep every half hour.
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