Salina Boy Triumphs Over Congenital Heart Defect With Life-Saving Heart Transplant

Peter Hernandez, a now five-year-old boy from Wichita, Kansas, has defied the odds and overcome a critical heart defect. Diagnosed with aortic stenosis as a newborn, Peter underwent successful surgery but faced complications that led to heart failure and the need for more surgeries. With uncertainty surrounding his future, Peter’s family was told to prepare for the worst. However, he pulled through and began his recovery in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

At just two and a half months old, Peter was placed on the heart transplant waiting list. After four long months, the family received the much-awaited news that a heart was available for transplant. Throughout their journey, Peter and his family received support from the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) and the Salina community, who rallied together to raise over $75,000 to assist with the financial barriers associated with the transplant. Although Peter still faces some challenges, such as being immunocompromised, he is now living an active life playing with his siblings and friends in the Salina community.

According to data from the Health Resource Services Administration, there were 329 individuals in Kansas on the heart transplant waiting list from 2018 to 2023. During the same period, there were 267 heart transplant recipients in the state. While there is no definitive timeline for Peter’s future heart needs, it is likely that he will require another transplant down the line. Despite the uncertainties, Peter’s family remains optimistic and grateful to organ donors for the gift of life they have received.

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