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Girl Survives 118 Days Without a Heart

When Dzhana Simmons' heart became weakened and enlarged so it couldn't pump blood, she underwent a heart transplant. But when that heart failed, doctors scrambled to hook her up to a machine: she survives 118 days without a heart!

Doctors scrambled to come up with a way for Simmons to survive until a new donor heart became available. A custom-made artificial heart was the solution. It looked like a large, complex machine, and Simmons was attached to it for 118 days.

"It was like I was a fake person, like I didn't really exist. I was just here," Simmons said. "Now, I know that I really was here and I did live without it."

"It was scary," said Simmons' mother, Twolla Anderson. "I didn't know from day to day how she was going to turn out or if it would've been fatal or what. Thanks to my buddies, the transplant team -- I love them for everything they've done for her -- I couldn't be happier."

On Oct. 29, Simmons received another donor heart and a kidney, as well.

Wow. That must have been pretty scary for her to go through knowing that she may or may not get a donated heart. Good to hear she got one and is doing well. :)
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Not sure how special this really is... currently I _personally_ know a pre-teen child who has been without a real heart for more than seven months. She has a mechanical heart from Germany to keep her alive while waiting for a donor. It runs on compressed air, apparently a fairly knew technology as she gets visited by a whole lot of doctors and students to see it.
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I'm gonna geek this up: Catwoman undertook a very similar ordeal recently, when Hush removed her heart and kept her alive so Batman would suffer.

Oh my God.
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When I read this story earlier this week it pointed out that her case is somewhat special because these sort of devices are rarely used on children and teenagers. I still think it's amazing.
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That really is interesting how the presence or absence of an organic heart should figure so centrally into our idea of "personhood" ... uhm, not that it shouldn't, of course, but something about the notion of having a completely artificial heart IS somehow uniquely disturbing ... would she have felt as "fake" if she'd had, say, an artificial liver or mechanical kidneys?

(Total geek points to Carlos Mal for the Catwoman reference, btw - you made my day, man =)
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