By Denise Dador Thursday, December 11, 2014
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A Victorville couple want only one thing this holiday season, and that’s to find a heart for their ailing 2-year-old son.
The fact Zakarii Rogers is still alive is largely due to new medical technology. Without it, his family’s Christmas wish wouldn’t even be possible.
Listening to the song "Happy" on his headphones help Zakarii make the best of his time at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
"He loves music, all music," said Zakarri’s mom.
Instead of painkillers during a dressing change, his parents turn up the music. It’s all the medicine he needs.
"He’s been fighting through this since day one, and there’s no other kid like him. He’s amazing. He’s my best friend," said Jake Rogers, Zakarri’s dad.
Zakarii lost a sister earlier this year, and since May has been clinging to life himself with the help of a device called the Berlin Heart.
"There’s really no possibility that he would have lived this long without that device," said Dr. Jondavid Menteer, a pediatric transplant cardiologist at Children’s Hospital L.A.
Ventricular assist devices for adults can’t be used in children because they pump huge amounts of blood, but designing a miniature one for smaller bodies is a lot more challenging.
The amount of pressure moving through the machine has to be just right. Thin tubes are chemically coated to prevent deadly blood clots.
"It’s a combination of good engineering and some special coatings and the medical management," Menteer said.
Doctors say Berlin devices have kept other children alive for nearly two hours. The device never leaves his side, and it powers Zakarri’s failing heart so he can deliver flying kisses throughout the hospital.
Zakarri’s parents know a transplant is a lot to ask for. They understand the pain another family will endure for their son to live, but they hope others will keep Zakarri’s situation in their hearts and on their minds.
A chance at life is all they want for their son.
"That would be the best present, the best thing I can ask for. I wouldn’t want nothing else in this world but that," Jake Rogers said.