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Doctors Save Infant Just Before Heart Transplant

Lincoln Seay is just 7 months old, but he’s been waiting for a heart transplant since November. However, his situation was looking dire last week - his family had traveled from their home in Alaska to seek treatment in Seattle, Washington, and Lincoln was in bad shape. 

“It was tough because we knew Lincoln was facing an uphill battle. The last two days it’s fair to say that I kind of fell apart a little bit. You just feel this despair and emptiness, you know, like time's up and my son is on his last leg,” Rob Seay, Lincoln’s father, told Q13 Fox.

Finally, a donor heart came through, but it was nearly too late. “They took him back for surgery at 3 a.m. and they were prepping him and his donor heart was en route and he went into cardiac arrest on the table,” explained his mother, Mindy Seay. 

“They were doing chest compressions and, from what I understand, it wasn’t getting him anywhere and so because the heart was en route they went ahead and opened his chest and the surgeon reached in and hand-compressed his heart until the new heart arrived. So, when we say he was out of time, he was literally out of time.”

 Dr. D. Michael McMullan told The Seattle Times that his young patient was “right on the edge.” 

“We have a list of patients and he was the one we were most concerned about,” he said.

Mindy told ABC News that the transplant has already made a significant difference. "His color is incredibly different, it’s pink and vibrant and he woke up with so much energy,” she said. "We joked, 'He woke up thinking he was the Hulk.’"

Lincoln has more energy already. "He was grabbing at my face and pulling my beard,"  Rob said.  "He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his body.”

Cases like Lincoln’s are not uncommon. In 2015, there were 121 similar transplants in young children throughout the U.S. and donors are difficult to come by. Mindy hopes her son’s story makes a difference. "We hope his story gives other families hope and raises awareness about organ donation,” she said.

Sources: Q13 Fox, The Seattle Times, ABC News / Photo credit: ABC News

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