by Yvonne Man
He was the first person to receive a small bowel transplant in Indiana. A decade later, David Peck and his family are celebrating a milestone.
David doesn’t remember much from 10 years ago, only through stories and pictures his mother has saved in a photo album. The details, though, still bring tears to the 12-year-old’s eyes.
“The doctors said I only have 48-hours to live and that would be the last two days [my family] would have had to see me,” said David.
David was two years old when he woke up from a nap, pale and vomiting. He was rushed to the emergency room and treated for dehydration. It turned out to be much worse.
“Within 12 hours of him waking up from a nap and being in the operating room, his bowel had twisted, died and was full of gangrene,” said Traci Peck, David’s mother.
Doctors did what they could by removing David’s small bowel and one-third of his large bowel. With little hope, David was given only 48-hours to live.
“You just kind of go in shock,” said Traci. “I think God puts the appropriate questions in your head to ask because that’s when we immediately started asking about a transplant.”
When it comes to kids, experts say most organ transplant matches come from another child, mostly because of organ size. It can be a complicated process. Currently, more than 1,400 Hoosiers are on an organ donation waiting list, 12 of them are children.
“It’s a balancing act,” said Sam Davis, an Indiana Organ Procurement Organization spokesman. “There’s simply not enough organs to go around to meet the need.”
Four weeks after David’s surgeries, he was put on the organ donor waiting list. He was given a new small bowel three days later.
“How do you thank somebody with a gift like that? There are no words,” said Traci. “In their grief, they made the decision to donate their child’s organs. That selfless act saved my son.”
While the Pecks celebrate their 10-year anniversary, they are also remembering David’s donor family who made it happen. Traci calls it a rare gift she can never replace.
“We had a donor in the last minute. We got the transplant just in time,” said David. “I’ve come very far and I’m grateful to be here.”
Since David’s surgeries, he’s come a long way. He loves basketball, and even played football for two years.
David’s experience has also inspired him to be a doctor when he grows up.
For more information on organ donation, check out donatelifeindiana.org. Children under 18 can only register with parental consent.