Family Grateful after Son Gets Life-Saving Heart Transplant PKG

An Ohio family reflects on their two-year-old son's life-saving heart transplant as they celebrate Thanksgiving.

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CLEVELAND – From the looks of it, you’d never know this sweet little boy named Jude has been through so much.

But, earlier this year the two-year-old had to get a heart transplant.

“It was one of the hardest things ever. It was really heartbreaking. It was really tough,” recalled his mother, Jessica Sedor-Franzak.

She said Jude was born with some heart issues and has had a pacemaker ever since, but it eventually stopped working.

“So they replaced the pacemaker,” she explained. “And that didn’t work, so then at that point they were still trying to treat him with meds.”

But that didn’t work either, which meant Jude would need a heart transplant.

“Unfortunately his heart continued to weaken fairly rapidly and we had to assist his heart and put in an artificial heart. It’s called a berlin heart. And it sits outside the body and it pumps blood for the heart,” said Gerard Boyle, MD, pediatric cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Jude stayed on the berlin heart at the hospital for a couple of months.

And then, the day finally came for his new heart.

“They had found a new heart for him and it was pretty much a perfect match. And he was really excited about it. We were all really excited,” Jessica said.

Jude’s heart transplant went well and he recovered with no complications.

“It’s patients like Jude that really get us up in the morning,” said Dr. Boyle. “Seeing him today was just so life-affirming for me. He came up and hugged me. Little things like that just make me smile.”

Jessica said she and her husband are forever grateful to Jude’s team of doctors, and look forward to celebrating the holidays at home.

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