Lincoln Seay, a 7-month-old baby from Alaska, underwent a successful heart transplant surgery that helped save his life. According to the Alaska Dispatch News, baby Lincoln was “staring at death” when he received a donor heart from another infant. The last minute heart transplant was performed at the Seattle Children’s Hospital earlier this month.
According to the Tech Times, Lincoln Seay was born on July 14 of 2015 with a severe heart condition. The congenital defect caused his heart to point on the wrong side of his body — a condition which is known as dextrocardia in medical parlance. Lincoln’s mother, Mindy Seay, recalls what the doctors had told her even before the baby was born.
“They had even said he might not survive birth.”
However, everyone in the family was elated when Lincoln cried for the first time on the day of his birth. The happiness was short-lived as Seay’s condition required that he undergo several surgeries to keep his heart pumping and the blood flowing. Doctors performed several surgeries on Lincoln, but his condition did not show signs of improvement. The only way out, doctors said, was to perform a heart transplant surgery. In the hope of getting better treatment and finding a donor, the distraught family moved from Anchorage to Seattle. Soon after the family moved to Seattle, doctors told Lincoln’s father, Rob, that the baby’s heart was failing and that a heart transplant was urgently needed.
The family had been waiting for a donor heart since November for a pediatric heart transplant, which in itself is a rare procedure. While adult heart transplants are rare enough, it is even more difficult to get a donor heart for an infant. Doctors treating Lincoln feared that a donor heart would come too late for the little boy. However, earlier this month, doctors were able to perform the much-needed heart transplant on Lincoln after a kind-hearted couple opted for organ donation and donated their baby’s heart. The parents of the donor has not been revealed, but Lincoln’s parents cannot thank them enough.
Meanwhile, according to Dr. D. Michael McMullan, Seattle Children’s surgical director of heart transplantation, “Lincoln was right on the edge.” He added that the center had performed a total of 21 heart transplants last year alone, while adding that Lincoln was the most serious case and that he was the patient he was most concerned about. Rob and Mindy Seay were told that it could take up to 90 days for a donor heart to become available. The donor for Lincoln arrived on day 89.
“The last two days, you could just tell they were his last days,” said Rob Seay, who recalls that his baby’s skin went dusky purple and he slept most of the time.
Owing to Lincoln’s condition and treatment, the family sent their three older children to Portland, Oregon, last summer. Initially, doctors treating Lincoln were confident that the heart defect troubling Lincoln could be fixed by surgery. However, it later became apparent that a transplant was needed. According to doctors, while Lincoln has survived the first phase, they will keep on monitoring him as he recovers from the surgery. They also added that the baby would have to be given strong drugs that would prevent his immune system from rejecting the heart. According to doctors, if all goes well, the donor heart would continue to grow as Lincoln ages and would last for 20 years or more.
— cecetalaro (@cecetal) December 15, 2015
While there is no information regarding the donor child, or its parents, thanks to privacy restrictions, there is a chance that the families of the affected could meet in the future. This is enabled by agencies like LifeCenter Northwest, the regional organ-procurement organization. However, a relieved Mindy Seay has already posted an open letter to the mother of the child who was lost.
“I will treasure that heart more than I’ve ever treasured any gift. I will care for that gift to the very best of my ability and will be sure we always give reverence and respect to the child and the family from which it came.”
Dr. McMullan, who performed the transplant, hopes his little patient grows up to be a strong man.
“I hope he plays football or does whatever he wants to do. He’s supposed to live.”
[Image Via Mindy Seay/Facebook]