Chicago boy discharged after 1st pediatric heart-liver transplant in Wisconsin
WAUWATOSA - A 15-year-old boy has become Wisconsin's first pediatric heart and liver transplant recipient.
"Keep that Packers shirt on," Dr. Stuart Berger joked to Thomas Castillo as he was discharged from Children's Hospital in Wauwatosa.
The teenager, who is from Chicago, had his lifesaving surgery at Children's Hospital.
"Thank you, Dr. Berger," Castillo told Berger, who helped save his life. He was born with complex congenital heart disease and suffered liver failure as a result of the disease.
Castillo has been receiving care at Children's Hospital since 2009. He was put on the heart and liver transplant list early in 2012.
After suffering a stroke in February, Thomas' grandparents - Santos Morin and Linda Rebeles - started to lose hope.
"We were ready to take him home. We were going to give up, take him home and deal with his stroke," said Rebeles.
A miracle happened on February 29th.
A large team of physicians and nurses at Children's Hospital performed a surgery that only 10 young people have ever received - a heart-liver transplant.
"These miracles, and it truly is, are only possible because of donor families and organ donation," said Dr. David Cronin, the liver transplant program director.
Now, after more than two years, Thomas is headed back to Chicago to live the life every child deserves.
"He's always been a fighter and it shows. He's still fighting, and I'm sure it's going to continue."
Children's Hospital is known for performing unprecedented procedures, including that of Jeanna Giese.
She was bitten by a rabid bat. Under the care of Children's Hospital, she was the first person to ever survive rabies without vaccination.