Lindsey Le is a normal tween from Severn, Maryland, who enjoys texting with friends and learning about science.
Last summer, while visiting family in Vietnam, she became increasingly short of breath and her feet became swollen and purple. Upon returning from her trip, she collapsed and had to be rushed to the emergency department. She quickly was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, where the cardiology team diagnosed her with severe pulmonary hypertension.
The cause of Lindsey’s illness was a mystery. Her heart was swollen in its fight to push blood through the lungs. Lindsey needed a double lung-heart transplant in order to save her life.
Lindsey had bilateral lung-heart transplant surgery in December 2018 during the holidays. The operation was performed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Bartley Griffith, MD, pediatric cardiac surgeon, K. Barry Deatrick, MD, and director of pediatric cardiac surgery, Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD. Lindsey’s parents don’t speak English, and so an interpreter was needed in order to communicate. Members of the transplant and pharmacy teams worked to have education materials translated into Vietnamese.
When she was finally discharged in February, her care team lined the hallway of the PICU to cheer her on and wish her well. Now home, Lindsey expressed appreciation for her medical team at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, where she says they listened to what she needed and made things fun.
It was truly a team effort to get a little girl with no hope of surviving with her original lungs and heart to a tween who is home now, excited to return to school and cannot wait to participate in sports, says Lindsey’s pediatric cardiologist, Carissa Baker-Smith, MD, MS, MPH.
CARISSA BAKER-SMITH, MD, MS, MPH, is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and pediatric cardiologist in the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
K. BARRY DEATRICK, MD, is an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a pediatric cardiac surgeon in the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
BARTLEY GRIFFITH, MD, is a professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
SUNJAY KAUSHAL, MD, PHD, is a professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, director of pediatric and adult congenital surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and co-director of the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
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