ABOVE: A Prince George boy, who spent months being kept alive by a Berlin Heart, receives a transplant. Global’s Elaine Yong reports.
At 11-months old, Logan Vandermeulen is thriving at Ronald McDonald house, five weeks after receiving a new heart.
At his young age, Logan has already made history as the first baby in British Columbia to have what is called a Berlin Heart, a life-saving heart pump that helped keep him alive until a donor became available. The device is used in children whose hearts are no longer strong enough to pump enough blood to vital organs.
Multiple tubes are connected to the heart as the device sits outside the body.
“I describe it to people as a fancy bicycle pump,” said Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, “Kids that get a Berlin Heart are in much better shape for the heart transplant that they ultimately get. Their post operative course tends to be much smoother than kids that are waiting in the hospital on drugs.”
Baby Logan had a tough start in life. When his mom was 26 weeks pregnant, doctors noticed there was something wrong with Logan’s heart. He was just a day old when he had a pacemaker installed, then surgery after surgery, but his only shot at having a future was a transplant.
Waiting was the hardest part for the Vandermeulen family. Logan’s mother, Veronica, said the estimated wait time for a transplant was anywhere from 24 hours to a year and half, but time was running out as her son was on the verge of death.
After five months of uncertainty, Logan got his new heart . Veronica is eternally grateful to the family who donated an incredible gift, giving Logan a second chance at life. “Without their baby…Logan wouldn’t be here. And we are so grateful,”said Veronica as tears poured down her face while she held onto her son.
According to the B. C Transplant Society there is a chronic shortage of hearts, lungs, kidneys and livers for transplant in the province. There are more than 300 British Columbians currently awaiting organ transplants.
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