Doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago saved the lives of three children this holiday season by performing successful heart transplants in four days.
One of the children, nine-year-old Olivia Donnelly, had been on the transplant list for several months. Thanks to Dr. Philip Thrush, medical director of the heart transplantation program, and Dr. Carl Backer, a cardiovascular surgeon, Donnelly received her transplant on Christmas Eve.
"We said you’ll go to sleep, doesn’t matter when it is, we will have Christmas when you’re awake because it’s only Christmas when you’re with us," Olivia's mother, Lisa Donnelly, recounted telling her daughter.
Olivia Donnelly's heart transplant was actually her second; her first took place at Lurie when she was only two years old.
All three patients were doing well following their surgeries, according to Lurie officials.
"When we put the new donor heart in, I always say 'welcome to your new home, because the new heart is in its new home,'" said Dr. Backer. "It's always a very touching moment.
The surgeries were part of a record-breaking year of heart transplants at the hospital. Doctors completed 34 transplants in 2019, and all were successful.