It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Oct 27, 2010

Surviving 4 months without heart

It was supposed to be a great day for 14-year-old D'Zhana Simmons, who received a transplant to replace her enlarged heart suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged and does not pump blood efficiently. She had a heart transplant on July 2, 2008 at Miami's Holtz Children's Hospital.

However, her dream turned into a nightmare when the new heart failed to function properly. Doctors had to remove the new organ, but without another heart available and with D'Zhana weakened from the surgery, they had to come up with a stopgap measure: two artificial pumps that kept the blood flowing in her body for close to four months. The feat was newsworthy partially because of D'Zhana's age and partially because when an artificial heart is used to sustain a patient, the patient's own heart is usually left in the body. In some cases, adult patients with weakened hearts have been kept alive that way for more than a year, before the replacement becomes available.

Miss Simmons was able to move around over the four months but remained hospitalized.

Finally, on October 29, D'Zhana received another heart transplant, and it was so successful that she had a kidney transplant the very next day.


The timid teen from South Carolina said the experiencing living with the help of a machine was 'scary.'
'You never knew when it would malfunction,' she said, her voice barely above a whisper, at the University of Miami.

'It was like I was a fake person, like I didn't really exist. I was just here,' she added.

Dr Marco Ricci, the hospital's director of pediatric cardiac surgery, said the patient’s prognosis is good.
Her mother told reporters: "I truly believe it's a miracle."

D'Zhana, who became very emotional during the press conference, said she was glad she could walk without the machine (the two pumps were supported by a large photocopier sized machine that had to be wheeled around with her during those 4 months). She said she was looking forward to being back with her family and being able to go outdoors.


Her doctors said she will have to take drugs for the rest of her life to stop her immune system rejecting the donated heart, and there's a 50 per cent chance she will need another transplant within the next 15 years.

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