Reporting Carey Codd
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HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – A South Florida child is heading home Thursday after receiving a heart transplant.
Last fall 19-month-old Jayden Villano’s family learned that his heart was not pumping properly. He needed a heart transplant.
Doctor Maryanne Chrisant was brutally honest with Jayden’s family about what would happen if he didn’t receive one.
“He likely would have died,” she said.
But doctors were able to use a new device called a Berlin artificial heart to keep Jayden alive while the family awaited a heart donor.
Jayden is the first South Florida pediatric patient to use the artificial heart prior to a transplant.
Earlier this month doctors at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood performed a heart transplant on Jayden.
Jayden’s mother, Alexa Gutierrez, says the doctor’s saved Jayden’s life.
“You’ve been there for me and him the whole way,” Gutierrez said through tears. “They’ve been so great and we’ve wouldn’t be here without them. They did everything they could and they saved him.”
Knowing that Jayden has a new heart and a new start touches Jayden’s doctors also.
“This is why we do what we do and this makes it all worthwhile,” said Dr. Chisant. “I do get teary about it because he’s a wonderful little boy.”
Doctors say Jayden will be on medication the rest of his life but should be able to do everything any other child does.
His mother is just happy her little boy is still alive to kiss and hug.
“Our whole family is based on him,” she said. “He’s our everything.”
Doctors will keep a close eye on Jayden and they expect him to live a normal, healthy life. Doctors say his story is a powerful reminder of the importance of organ donation.
“Many of these children die waiting because there just is such an insufficient number of donors,” Dr. Chisant said.