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Old 02-22-2003, 06:28 PM   #1
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Botched Transplant Victim Declared Dead

DURHAM, N.C. (Feb. 22) - Jesica Santillan, the teenager who survived a botched heart-lung transplant long enough to get an odds-shattering second set of donated organs, died Saturday afternoon.

Jesica was declared brain dead at 1:25 p.m., and taken off life-support machines at about 5 p.m., said Duke University Medical Center spokesman Richard Puff.

Earlier Saturday, a lawyer for the 17-year-old's family said they would not agree to remove her from life-support until they were allowed to get an outside doctor's opinion on her condition. Puff said he did not know if the hospital had the Santillans' consent to turn off the machines.

He said the family declined to donate any organs from Jesica's body, including the heart and lungs that had been donated to her in an operation Thursday. He did not know if those organs had been in any condition to use in a second transplant.

Jesica, 17, whose own heart was deformed, received a heart-lung transplant Feb. 7, but from a donor of a different blood type. Her body rejected the transplant and her health was failing by the time the second set of organs was placed in her body early Thursday.

By early Friday, the newest organs were performing well but Jesica's brain was swelled and bleeding.

``All of us at Duke University Hospital are deeply saddened by this,'' Dr. William Fulkerson, the hospital's chief executive officer, said Saturday. ``We want Jesica's family and supporters to know that we share their loss and their grief. We very much regret these tragic circumstances.''

A spokeswoman for a foundation created to help pay Jesica's medical bills prayed for the girl at a news conference.

``Dear heavenly father, we want to thank you for Jesica's life,'' Renee McCormick said. ``In one week, she was able to touch more hearts in this world than most of us combined will ever do in a lifetime.

``We know that Jesica's work on this earth is done, and she is now an angel,'' McCormick said, and began to cry.

Family lawyer Kurt Dixon said Jesica's parents and supporters, who had remained with her through her hospitalization, would not be available for comment.

Jesica's heart condition kept her lungs from getting oxygen into her blood. Relatives have said her family paid a smuggler to bring them from their small town near Guadalajara to the United States so she could get medical care.

She spent three years on a waiting list for a transplant while neighbors and friends in Louisburg, where her family moved to be near relatives, rallied to support her emotionally and financially.

In the first operation, Dr. James Jaggers implanted organs from a donor with type A blood, rather than Jesica's O-positive. Duke officials have said Jaggers and Carolina Donor Services, an organ procurement agency, failed to share information about her blood type.

A second set of organs was located less than two weeks later - amazingly fast in comparison to the three years Jesica spent on a waiting list before her first operation. Eighty percent of patients awaiting transplants die before organs can be found.

Jesica's place on the list was determined by several factors, including the severity of her illness and her age.

Her immigration status played no role because hospitals may place non-U.S. citizens on their waiting lists and must give them the same priority as citizens, said spokeswoman Anne Paschke. But they cannot perform more than 5 percent of their transplants on non-citizens.

Heart and lung transplants are rare for teenagers: In the first 11 months of 2002, there were four nationwide for children between the ages of 11 and 17, UNOS' records show. The previous year, there were four.

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Old 02-22-2003, 06:42 PM   #2
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Old 02-22-2003, 08:52 PM   #3
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I find this story so sad, I hope she is on to a better place.
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Old 02-22-2003, 09:22 PM   #4
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a very tragic story. how the doctors screwed up so badly, i will never know.

i mean, didnt they get the blood type mixed up? how is that acceptable?
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Old 02-22-2003, 09:32 PM   #5
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i like the part where they came to this country just to get a transplant and now won't donate her organs.
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Old 02-22-2003, 09:39 PM   #6
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I would not be quick to judge her parents.

Maybe they are afraid their daughter's organs will not be properly typed - and a few more will die.
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Old 02-22-2003, 09:42 PM   #7
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i agree with deep. when i saw that they weren't going to donate the organs i was a bit outraged at first, but then...twice donated organs? fishy
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Old 02-22-2003, 10:11 PM   #8
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This was the Botch From Hell. It's really sad.
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Old 02-22-2003, 11:26 PM   #9
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Old 02-23-2003, 05:21 AM   #10
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I've had multiple (9) surgeries on my left shoulder. My dad was a lawyer and my mom was a doctor and everytime I went in for surgery I wrote in BIG letters on my good arm "DO NOT OPERATE ON THIS ARM" with a sharpie.

All it takes is a typo to mess up.
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:32 AM   #11
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That's so sad. She would have had a long life in front of her if she had been given the right organs the first time.
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Old 02-23-2003, 10:45 AM   #12
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Originally posted by Gickies Gageeze
a very tragic story. how the doctors screwed up so badly, i will never know.

i mean, didnt they get the blood type mixed up? how is that acceptable?
it is difficult to say, especially in this case, but mistakes are going to occur. every experience is to be learned from...


im the candyman. and the candyman is back.
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