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Council Bluffs infant is first heart transplant baby at Children’s Hospital – SouthwestI

Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 11:25 am, Tue Apr 9, 2013.

OMAHA – A Council Bluffs girl has become the first infant to receive a heart transplant at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

Two-week-old Lainey Wilkinson was born with a congenital heart defect that could not be repaired, leading to the procedure. Doctors completed surgery Monday morning, the hospital announced.

“The transplant operation went well,” James Hammel, MD, transplant surgeon and clinical service chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s, said in a release. “At this time, Lainey is recovering as expected in the intensive care unit.”

Lainey is the daughter of Jeff and Jessica Wilkinson of Council Bluffs.

She’s been hospitalized at Children’s since her birth, a release from the hospital stated.

“We cannot thank everyone enough, including the cardiac team and the donor family for sharing the precious gift we received,” said Jeff Wilkinson, the infant’s father.

Children’s received interim approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing to begin performing heart transplants last month.

“Our ability to perform pediatric heart transplants allows us to provide the full continuum of cardiac care,” said Robert Spicer, MD, director of heart transplantation at Children’s and clinical service chief of cardiology.

“This is a significant development for families not only in our immediate area but also for those from throughout the Midwest.”

The parents and physicians were not granting interviews Monday.

The transplant was the first infant heart transplant performed in the state of Nebraska, the release stated. Coincidentally, the first adult heart transplant in the state was performed on April 8, 1985 at Clarkson Hospital, now known as The Nebraska Medical Center.

April is National Donate Life Month.

For more information on becoming a registered organ, eye or tissue donor, visit or Individuals should join the registry in their primary state of residence.

– Reporter Tim Johnson can be reached at (712) 325-5752 or by email at

via Council Bluffs infant is first heart transplant baby at Children’s Hospital – Local News.

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