7-month-old is youngest to have heart, lung transplant
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 7-month-old boy is the youngest person to have a heart and lung transplant in a decade.
Jack Palmer has been through more in his short life than most of us can begin to imagine. It was at Tiffany Palmer’s 20-week sonogram appointment that the couple was hit hard with terrible news: only half of their baby’s heart had developed.
It was a rare and usually deadly diagnosis.
“It was shocking, scary, emotional,” she said.
Tiffany and Chuck Palmer started a nationwide search for a hospital willing to take on their case. They weren’t getting the answers they wanted to hear, but soon, the doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital said “yes.”
“They couldn’t guarantee us anything, but were willing to at least deliver him and go straight to the cath lab and evaluate from there,” said Chuck Palmer.
Jack was delivered in St. Louis, and he would stay there for the first several months of his life. On May 23, he had a heart and lung transplant, which was a success.
“Jack is our miracle, and not all cases end this way, and we know that, and it’s hard knowing that,” the Palmers said.
At 7 months old, Jack has more than 1,500 beads on a necklace that represent a medical procedure he’s gone through in his young life. He’s on 20 different medications and will be on anti-rejection medicine for the rest of his life.
The Palmer family returned home to Kansas City on Aug. 30 with Jack in tow, and to say they are grateful would be an understatement.
“It’s been a long journey, being diagnosed a year ago. We’ve had a lot of unknowns and not knowing if this day of all of us being home would ever happen,” they said.
They’re now spreading a message to others — to never give up hope, to keep searching for the answers you need for your family and to make sure you’re an organ donor.
“Know that that gift of life is amazing and, without that, Jack wouldn’t be here, and we don’t take that for granted,” they said.