Meet baby Jack Palmer, an 8-month-old from Kansas City who has been defying medical odds his entire life.
Jack was born in January with severe heart and lung defects and was not expected to live more than a few days.
The baby became the youngest pediatric patient in the United States in a decade to receive a successful heart-lung transplant, according to The Kansas City Star.
So far, no infant in the United States has survived for a full year after the procedure, The Star reported.
But baby Jack, who has beaten the odds so far, just might be the first.
“We just live each day as if it might be our last and we don’t know what tomorrow brings,” said Jack’s mother, Tiffany Palmer. “We cherish every moment.”
Jack’s father, Chuck Palmer, recalled the roller coaster of emotions that came when they found out Jack had a transplant match on May 23.
“Walking into that unit that day the entire staff was just ecstatic because Jack was up for a transplant and they had accepted organs,” Chuck said. “Just the smiles, the tears.”
And of course, the fear.
“We didn’t know if it was going to be our last day with him or if it was going to be a miracle that day,” Chuck said.
Both of Jack’s parents have pretty intense medical careers, and understood all too well the risks of Jack’s transplant surgery. Chuck is an air ambulance paramedic and Tiffany is a neonatal intensive care nurse.
Cardiothoracic surgeon Pirooz Eghtesady also understood the overwhelming risks of operating on an infant with such complex heart and lung issues.
“I knew it was a high-risk operation, but at the same time the flip side of it was pretty obvious too,” Eghtesady said. “Meaning that if we didn’t operate on him, if we didn’t do something, he wasn’t going to live.”
Jack and his parents stayed at the hospital until late August, when they were discharged to return home.
Now, they celebrate every grin, growth and milestone little Jack makes, recognizing that Jack’s life is a miracle.
Jack’s parents don’t know what the future holds for their little boy, but they hope Jack’s story will encourage others to consider organ donation and bring hope to other families caring for an infant like baby Jack.
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