Best Heart

Baby Miles was very sick. Could a risky new heart procedure save his life?

from Reader's Digest Magazine | May 2005

Leigh and Adrian Coulson were living every parent’s worst nightmare. Their newborn son, Miles, was in heart failure, his heart pumping so little blood that his liver and kidneys were beginning to shut down. Doctors used a special machine to keep Miles alive. After eight awful days, Miles was weaned off the machine when another doctor delivered the horrifying news that he would need a heart transplant.

The only thing that could keep Miles alive while his parents waited and hoped for a donor heart was a tiny pump called the Berlin Heart. It had been used in Europe, but was not yet approved in the U.S. When the Coulsons learned that an 11-month old baby had died of a head injury in San Francisco, Miles’s new heart was helicoptered to Stanford. Amazingly, the heart transplant was a success and Miles was ready to begin a new journey.

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