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One week, three children, three new hearts

10:37 AM, Jan 4, 2014   |    comments
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A new year brings new patients and lives to change. 

But in the heart transplant wing of Chidren's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, they still marvel over the end of last year ... and three patients forever intertwined. 

"We do, on average, about 15-18 transplants a year," said Kelci Laporte, a nurse at Egleston. "So to have three in one week is pretty rare."

Brisieda, six-year-old Ophelia and eight-month old Silas all had life changing events happen to them in 2013, within a week of each other.

Each had heart transplants.

"Every time I watch, I realize, 'That's not his heart," Silas' mother, Amanda Huffman said.

This past summer, these three children, from three different parts of Georgia, wound up at in the hospital, each in need of a new heart. 

"It was hard, it was hard," said Laverne Bragg, Ophelia's grandmother. "We cried a lot ... she was sick a lot."

Each stayed at Egleston for months, through birthdays and holidays, never knowing when, or if, a new heart would come. 

Then, in one week, came three calls and three new hearts. 

"I was relieved, but sad, because obviously we know where the heart was coming from," Huffman said.

They may never learn what children had to pass so that theirs could survive. But the families of Silas, Ophelia, and Brisieda now know that unique feeling of heaviness and happiness.

"I think my biggest one was just gratitude, that someone in their darkest time would choose to donate their baby's organs," Huffman added. "It's good to be home with him and have him home."

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