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High School Athlete Awaiting Heart Transplant Goes Home For Holidays

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Darius red is shown here with doctors before leaving for the holiday. (Source: David Sutta)

Darius red is shown here with doctors before leaving for the holiday. (Source: David Sutta)

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MIAMI (CBS4)- A Florida high school athlete on a heart assist device, and awaiting a heart and kidney transplant, will be going home Friday just in time to celebrate the holidays with his family.

Darius Red, 18, will be seeing his family in Clewiston, Florida after being in at Holtz Children’s Hospital and Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital for the past six months.

Red attended a football camp at Florida Atlantic University during his senior year at Clewiston High. Soon after returning home from the camp, Red, who is also a star basketball player, complained that he was having trouble breathing.

After being seen at a Clewiston hospital, Red was rushed to Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center on June 28th. He was placed on life support and diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a disorder caused by a viral attack on the cardiac muscles of the heart.

In addition to being in heart failure, Darius was also suffering from kidney failure and in need of dialysis.

Doctors immediately placed Red on the waiting list for a heart and kidney transplant.

A ventricular assist device (VAD) was implanted by doctor Si Mai Pham, director cardiopulmonary transplantation at UM/Jackson to improve Red’s quality of life while he awaits a transplant. The VAD is a mechanical device that replaces the function of a failing heart by circulating blood.

Red was at Holtz Children’s Hospital and Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital, where he was receiving physical therapy to help him regain his strength.

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