The head of Loma Linda University's infant heart transplant program has been joined by two distraught sets of parents who have pleaded for heart donors to save their infant sons.
Daymon and Cynthia Petersen of Salt Lake City joined David and Susan Jirschefske of Pasadena, Calif., to ask for parents of infants who have died to consider donating the baby's organs."I just hope to God they can look through the pain," said Daymon Petersen, whose unborn son, Whitney, has been diagnosed with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome. The child is expected to be born in about two weeks.
"Once he's born the time clock starts," Petersen said. "And you don't know when that clock will stop."
The Jirschefske's 1-week-old son Daniel also has been diagnosed with the disease. Hypoplastic left-heart syndrome is a terminal under development of the left ventricle of the heart.
The parents made their pleas to reporters at a news conference at the Seventh-day Adventist school 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
Dr. Leonard Bailey, head of Loma Linda University Medical Center's infant heart transplant program, told reporters on Sunday the problem of organ donors was not limited to his tiny patients.
"People need to know that there is a desperate need for organs, from the first day of life to adulthood," Bailey said.
Bailey in 1984 performed the controversial transplant of a baboon heart to the infant known as Baby Fae, who died 20 days after the surgery.