The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Transplant gets to heart of matter

Durham (North Carolina), Feb. 20 (Reuters): Surgeons transplanted a new heart and lungs into a Mexican teenager today, giving her a second chance after she nearly died from a botched transplant two weeks ago.

Jesica Santillan, 17, was in critical condition after nearly five hours of surgery at Duke University Hospital. She was initially given organs from a donor with the wrong blood type that her body immediately started to reject.

“Jesica is doing fine,” family spokesman Mack Mahoney said. “She is now off total life support. Her heart is doing its job and her lungs are working. No signs of rejection.” The heart and lungs she received on February 7 were of an incorrect blood type, an error for which Duke officials have admitted responsibility.

Santillan, who has been waiting three years for the transplant, has type-O blood. The original heart and lungs were from a type-A donor.

Santillan’s parents brought her to the US from Mexico for medical care and doctors had given her a couple of weeks to live without another set of organs. Mahoney said doctors yesterday afternoon said the girl only had a day to live.

He said doctors called the family early today to tell them organs had been located and that a Duke medical team was getting them.

Hospital officials have not said where the new heart and lungs came from.

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