North Carolina Girl Dies Saturday Evening - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/22/03

North Carolina Girl Dies Saturday Evening

17 year-old Jesica Santillan was declared brain dead and taken off life-support machines at Duke University Medical Center early Saturday evening.

She fought bravely for her young life. Three years ago, her family smuggled her into the country from Mexico. Jesica had a heart deformity and doctors said without a heart and lung transplant, she wouldn't live more than six months.

On February 7th, Jesica's family thought their prayers had been answered -- surgeons at Duke University Hospital gave her a new heart and lungs, but they soon realized they made a life-threatening mistake. The organs came from a donor with the wrong blood type.

Because of a mismatch and incompatibility of the organs, the organs were being rejected in Jesica's body. Doctors immediately began searching for a new donor.

Two weeks later, they found one. The initial surgery went well. It looked like Jesica might get a third chance at life.

But within 24 hours, bleeding and swelling began in Jesica's brain. Surgeons reported severe brain damage. Still, Jesica's family refused to lose hope until Jesica's struggle was over.

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