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Heart transplants over the years for father-daughter

6:17 PM, Jul 7, 2011   |    comments
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  • Mitch Finn.
  • Kallie Finn

By Dana Dean

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Four-year-old Kallie Finn is all smiles a little over a week after receiving a new heart at Children's Hospital.

"With her mentality, I think she's going to be fine," said Mitch, her dad.

It all started one day when Kallie's father, Mitch, noticed her lips were blue.

"Something is not right here," he said.

He immediately called the doctor for an X-ray and found out Kallie had an enlarged heart.

"Right then, it was like the bells went off," he said.

Mitch knows what his daughter is going through because when he was about the same age, he also received a heart transplant at Children's Hospital.

"Being on this side as the parent, yeah, it's a roller coaster ride. Now I know what my parents went through," Mitch said.

Dr. Charles Canter, who performed surgery on Kallie, remembers Mitch well.  Twenty-four years ago, Dr. Canter also performed surgery on Kallie's dad.

"Her father was the third heart transplant done at St. Louis Children's Hospital in 1987," Canter said.

The biggest difference between Kallie and her father's surgery is this. She used a mechanical heart for four weeks.

"She did, to support her, to get the live one," Canter said.

Dr. Canter said Kallie likely would not have survived without it.

"The heart we used...has only been available for the last four years," he said.

Because of the surgery, Mitch is forming an even closer bond with his daughter. As you can see, Mitch plans to be there for Kallie every step of the way.

Dr. Canter said it's not uncommon to see more than one family member receive a heart transplant. He says it's a good possibility Mitch's heart disease was genetic.



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