The advances of technology in present day are like science fiction sometimes, or even miracles. D’Zhana Simmons, a teen from South Carolina, survived for nearly four months (118 days) without a heart. Yes, you read right.
The 14-year-old was kept alive by a custom-built artificial blood-pumping device — that to pumped and cleansed blood — while she awaited a heart transplant.
According to Reuters, doctors in Miami said that they believed this was the first time a child survived under the circumstances for this long. There was a similar case in Germany where an adult was kept alive for nine months without a heart, though.
Simmons called the experience “scary.”
“You never knew when it would malfunction,” she said at a news conference at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
“It was like I was a fake person, like I didn’t really exist. I was just here,” she added.
The teen suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the patient’s heart becomes weakened and enlarged and does not pump blood efficiently, said reports.
She had a heart transplant back in July at Miami’s Holtz Children’s Hospital, but the new heart failed to function properly and was quickly removed.
A second transplant on October 29 was successful.
“I truly believe it’s a miracle. I give my thanks to my buddies. I love the transplant team,” said D’Zhana’s mother, Twolla Anderson.
Dr. Marco Ricci, the hospital’s director of pediatric cardiac surgery, said that although her prognosis was good, doctors warn that there is a 50 percent chance that a heart transplant patient will need a new heart 12 or 13 years after the first surgery.