It's been almost three years since Teresa was brought from China, and she survived with the help of her doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Even though other doctors told the Bartlinskis to take Teresa home to die, the Children's Hospital doctors gave her a drug that strengthened her lungs over time, making a lung transplant unnecessary. It was enough to eventually get her on the heart transplant waiting list.
After nearly a year of waiting, the family was vacationing in Delaware when they got the call to get to Philadelphia for the transplant.
Since patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome have had surgeries to work around the bad part of the heart, doctors have to undo the workaround to connect the new heart properly, making the transplant operation especially complicated, Mettler said. It's not clear how the single surgery in China complicated Teresa's transplant.
After Teresa went into cardiac arrest, doctors put her on a machine to do the work of her heart and lungs, and sedated her. The rest of her family traveled to Philadelphia to be near its princess.
After Teresa spent three days on life support, her doctors learned on Thursday, June 20, that Teresa will need another surgery to repair her new left atrium – which funnels oxygen-rich blood to the pumping chamber to go to the rest of the body, Bartlinski blogged. "Teresa's broken heart vessels were smaller than the donors'," Bartlinski wrote, adding that Teresa's doctor was confident Teresa's heart function would improve after this second surgery. The Bartlinskis have been praying hard – specifically to Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005. If Teresa is cured, they hope to attribute the "miracle" to him, making him eligible for sainthood, which requires three miracles, Bartlinski said.