Heart transplant saves long-suffering teen
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:12PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 28, 2012 7:17PM EDT
MONTREAL - Vincent Lambert, long stuck to a mechanical heart, is now out playing with friends and living a normal life.
But he's also playing a bigger role, that of a living testament to the importance of signing organ donor cards.
The 15-year-old spent seven months stuck in a hospital, clinging to life while hoping to get a new heart.
Lambert had problems with his heart since the age of three months and last fall his problems resurfaced, forcing him into organ failure, from which he barely survived.
But thanks to a generous donor and some skilled surgeons, his suffering is all behind him now as he says he doesn’t even think about his past health challenges anymore.
“I feel very good,” he said. “It’s like I was never in the hospital.”
However his stay bore fruit, as he helped push forward a campaign to encourage organ donations.
And on June 11 he got the good news that a heart had been found.
“It was like a miracle. We never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. And then there it was, with one phone call,” said his father Alain Lambert.
The operation went smoothly, partially thanks to the time Vincent spent being kept alive by a machine.
“We removed the mechanical heart and so he breezed right through this transplant because he was well-prepared on the mechanical heart and once that's done, he has a fantastic quality of life,” said Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Renzo Cecere.
Young Vincent is enjoying every day after his lengthy ordeal.
“It's been very long. The only way you can live through that is by living one day at a time, and I think that was the lesson for me,” he said.