After 3-year wait, boy gets heart-lung transplant
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - March 5, 2013 (WPVI) -- It's a dream come true for a south Jersey family and their little boy. After awaiting a transplant most of his life, at last he had the surgery.
Riley O'Brien from Somerdale, New Jersey will be 5-years-old early next month. But he has been waiting for a heart and lungs since he was 18-months-old.
It's very rare for a child to need all three, but Riley was born with several problems that weakened his own organs and the conditions cause his major blood vessels to close.
Over his young life he's had 26 catheterization procedures to keep them open - the latest was in early February.
During their wait, his parents actively campaigned for family donor awareness to find organs, not just for him, but other kids in need.
Monday night, after 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days, Riley received a transplant.
For the Riley family '3' seems to be the charm. Twice before, Riley had been prepped for a transplant, however, surgeons determined at the last minute that the donor organs weren't suitable.
A family spokesperson says Riley is doing well, but it will be 'touch and go' for at least the next few days.
Riley's family has another hurdle to overcome - finding a new home.
Their current home, a converted doctor's office, isn't healthy - especially for Riley's new lungs.
It is structurally unsound and mold has been found in the crawl space and several walls. Doctors say he can't go home there when he is released from the hospital in 4 to 6 months.
The Riley family still owes $150,000 on their mortgage on their current home, so they'd need to pay off the mortgage as well as purchase a new home. Most of the family income from his father's job as a school maintenance worker goes toward Riley's medical expenses. The co pays went up substantially after the school system changed health insurers.
We will have more on his story as Riley recovers, and we wish him and his family all the best.
- 911 recordings released in Ewing Twp. explosion 27 min ago
- Brief Surge of Mild Air 22 min ago
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Autopsy results released in death of trooper's wife
- Mutilated animal in Brewerytown possibly a bobcat
- Search for finger-biting mall attack suspects 42 min ago
- Cabbie allegedly locks doors in credit card dispute
- Police investigate 2 shootings at illegal Trenton bar
- Wynnewood community mourns college student's death
- Police step up search in deadly hit-and-run 50 min ago
- Vietnam vet's therapy dog missing in Lehigh Valley 37 min ago
- Stolen passports probed in Malaysian plane mystery
- Video: Camden H.S. wrestler wins state championship 27 min ago
- 911 recordings released in Ewing Twp....
27 min ago
- Brief Surge of Mild Air
22 min ago
- Search for finger-biting mall attack suspects
42 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos