Adriel’s Heart was harvested and placed immediately into a box like machine which keeps it beating outside the body by supplying it with blood. After several hours in the the operating room, five different box with “Human Organ” boldly written on each were hurriedly wheeled out into different ambulance vehicles waiting outside the medical facility. However, one of the boxes was moved into a chopper which took off almost immediately. The chopper landed after about two hours of nonstop flight from Detroit to New York City where the recipient and his transplant team resides. After harvest, an organ may not survive more than six hours of presentation outside the body, so the transplant team on both sides have to work against the clock.
Seven-hundred miles away from his home in Chicago, Liam arrived New York to receive a new heart after he had been waiting for a miracle since he was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy from birth. Cardiomyopathy is an acquired or hereditary disease of the heart muscle, this condition makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood to the body, and can lead to heart failure. When a child is born with this, he may not experience any of its symptoms at his tender age, however as he grows into an adult the symptoms begin to show up and get more severe everyday.
People on heart transplant list are usually told to stay alert, the transplants centers usually provide their patients with a pager or cellphone which keeps them notified whenever a heart is available. “When you’re waiting, it’s like you’re living on knife edges” Liam said. ” I used to stay up at night because I was afraid the my cell phone would beep in the middle of the night, and I wouldn’t hear it” he continued.
Meanwhile, Liam lost the parents who adopted him to a ghastly car accident when he was six years old. He was also a victim, however he survived with a scar on his face. His father owned a very big business, but he wasn’t old enough to handle the property so he was raised by his relatives till he was eighteen. At nineteen, Liam took over his father’s business empire and became the new Lord Of the Manor as he was the only child. The only cons about his wealth was his poor heart condition coupled with a bigfacial scar. This usually gives him psychological trauma as it reminds him of his parent’s death.
Liam had been on heart the transplant list for more than 3 years, however he had a Ventricular Assisted Device implanted on his left chest which supplements his failing heart. For some people who cannot have a heart transplant, another option may be a ventricular assist device (VAD). A ventricular assist device is a mechanical pump which can implanted in the chest to helps pump blood from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) to the rest of the body.
Impressively, VADs are commonly used as temporary treatments for people waiting for heart transplants. These devices are increasingly being used also as a long-term treatments for people who have frequent heart failures but are not eligible for heart transplants. If a VAD doesn’t help the patient, doctors may sometimes consider a total artificial heart which is also a device that replaces the ventricles of your heart —an alternative short-term treatment while the patient is waiting for a heart transplant.
Fortunately, Liam was evaluated as a suitable recipient of Adriel’s heart and was notified immediately the heart was ready. After a brief explanation of the surgery procedure to Liam, he was moved to the Operating room after which a general anesthesia was administered which put him to sleep in less than a minute. Then the surgery began!
The VAD was surgically removed and Liam was placed on a Heart-Lung machine which does the work of the heart and also takes the strain off his lungs. The Heart-Lung machine continues to pumps filtered, oxygen-rich blood into the body after which the diseased heart was also removed and replaced with the new heart. After seven hours of operation, the sternum bone then needs to be closed and typically, this is done by using surgical wires to wrap or circle the halves of the sternum together after which the skin is closed.
After the surgery was successfully done, Liam was kept on observation in case of his immune system reject the organ and medication in the hospital for a week and was allowed to leave for home after thorough evaluations. “I spent a week in the ICU, and then I was transferred to a regular room for four days. After that, I went home to begin my recovery and my new life. I began to think about my donor after about a month after the surgery” Liam said. “It high time I find the people who gave me a chance to live ”
Liam learnt about Adriel story from doctor Wu who was his transplant coordinator. However he felt indebted to Adriel and his parents. He was able to get enough information about them. Liam arrived at Adriel’s home and placed a well packaged gift on the front door just like a delivery from an online shopping. After knocking on the door, he then stepped some meters away. The package contained a white teddy bear, to show his gratitude, he taped his heartbeat during an annual checkup and put the recording in a Bear dressed in a shirt.
Adriel’s mother unpacked the box and was filled with anxiety that made her feel uneasy. On sighting Liam, Adriel’s mother saw an extraordinarily strange image, an exact replica of her son!
Adriel and Liam were later found out to be identical twins. This was a shocking event to both parties. On birth, Liam was adopted by another family due to some reasons only known to Adriel’s mother. This remain an Untold Story.
“my brother died for me to live, now I have to fulfill his dreams to show gratitude for your heroic step” said Liam. Liam was later adopted by his own biological parents and lived a normal life as a renowned philanthropist.
Writer: Ahmad Abdullah
University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria