Child Lives Without Heart For 118 Days
After her first heart transplant failed within a day, 14-year-old D’Zhana Simmons lived 118 days with a custom-built artificial heart until another donor could be found.
“It was like I was a fake person, like I didn’t really exist,” she said at Holtz Children’s Hospital. “But I know that I really was here.”
A year prior, D’Zhana learned that her enlarged heart was too weak to pump enough blood, a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. UHealth/Jackson surgeons performed a heart transplant, but a day later, the new heart developed a large clot in one of its ventricles and had to be removed.
In the past, this situation would have been lethal.
Instead, Dr. Marco Ricci modified a ventricular assist device, which is commonly used for only hours at a time, into a long-term artificial heart. “She essentially lived for 118 days without a heart, with her circulation supported only by two blood pumps,” Dr. Ricci said.
D’Zhana recovered and Dr. Ricci and his team were able to proceed with the second heart transplant shortly thereafter.
Oct. 2010 Medical Firsts
Tennis-Ball-Sized Tumor Removed While Still in the Womb. Link opens story page.
In 2010, a tennis-ball-sized tumor was removed while the patient was still in the womb.Explore in story page.
Feb. 2011 Miracle Stories
Paralyzed Gymnast Walks Again After Hypothermia Treatment. Link opens story page.
After fracturing and dislocating a vertebra in his neck, longtime gymnast Jorge Valdes’ chances of walking were slim. But a week after his fall, Jorge was discharged from Jackson Memorial Hospital – walking.Explore in story page.
Nov. 2016 Jackson History
Committed to a Healthier Life, Sisters Undergo Surgery. Link opens story page.
In 2015, Gloria and Linda Taylor underwent weight-loss surgery to live healthier lives.Explore in story page.