Jesica Santillan Receives New Heart-Lung Transplant
DURHAM, N.C. -- Jesica Santillan, 17, is in the pediatric
intensive care unit at Duke University Hospital after a nearly
four-hour heart-lung transplant procedure.
Her physicians said the procedure went as expected, and she
remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
"Speaking for Duke University Hospital and the entire health
care team, we are so grateful that organs became available to
help Jesica Santillan," said William Fulkerson, M.D., CEO of
Duke University Hospital. "Our heart goes out to the family of
the donor because of their loss."
The transplant process began at 11:30 p.m. (EST), Wednesday,
Feb. 19, when Duke transplant surgeon James Jaggers, M.D., was
notified by Carolina Donor Services that compatible organs were
available for Jesica. The procedure for ensuring compatibility
was completed and the surgical team discussed the situation
with Jesica's family at about 12:30 a.m. (EST), Thursday, Feb.
At approximately 5:15 a.m. (EST), Jesica was taken to the
operating room. The operation began at about 6 a.m. (EST) and
was completed by 10:15 a.m. (EST) with the family receiving
updates throughout the course of the surgery. She is now in
intensive care receiving aggressive support by her doctors,
nurses and health care team.
Jesica originally received a heart-lung transplant at Duke
on Feb. 7, but because of a blood-type mismatch, the organs
were being rejected by Jesica's body. A review of the events
leading up to the mismatch is ongoing. Duke Hospital has
revised its procedures to prevent such errors in the future. As
a result of the new procedures, three additional physicians
were involved in the organ compatibility process before today's
Jaggers performed both of Jesica's transplants. Duane Davis,
M.D., surgical director of Duke's lung transplant program,
assisted in the second transplant due to Jesica's medical
"This has been a difficult and heart-wrenching time for many
people. At Duke it has resulted in a tense re-examination of
internal controls in transplantation," said Fulkerson. "We have
a tremendous need for organ donations in this country, and
indeed, worldwide. We sincerely hope that, through the
widespread appeal for organs for Jesica, that more individuals
and families have considered becoming organ donors. If people
across America could take time today to consider becoming an
organ donor, not one but several patients and their families
would benefit from their actions."
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Santillan Family Donation requests:
Duke Chaplain's Fund
C/o Duke Pastoral Services
Ronald McDonald House
506 Alexander Ave.
Durham, NC 27705
Jesica Santillan Fund
C/o CCB (Central Carolina Bank)
Jesica's Hope Chest
115 Nuthatch Court
Louisburg, NC 27549