TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - One Terre Haute elementary school student spent Thursday in an Indianapolis Hospital's intensive care unit recovering, after undergoing a heart transplant surgery Wednesday.
Katelyn Newell, 8 of Terre Haute was hospitalized in January with congenital heart failure complications. She was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease at birth.
According to News 10 archives, Katelyn had heart-related issues dating back to April 2012, when classmates helped alert teachers at Deming Elementary school in Terre Haute after Katelyn "turned blue in the finger tips".
"Congenital heart disease is a malformation of the heart involving its chambers, heart valves or major blood vessels that is present at birth", according to Mayo Clinic's website. "A heart transplant is an operation in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier, donor heart", according to Mayo. It reports a "Heart transplant is a treatment that's usually reserved for people who have tried medications or other surgeries, but their conditions haven't improved sufficiently." said the website.
It continued, "While a heart transplant is a major operation, your chance of survival is good, with appropriate follow-up care." Katelyn's mother, Robin Newell, told News 10 via telephone Thursday that Katelyn's procedure was a success. The Deming Elementary student will now spend another week in intensive care, her mother told News 10. "She'll probably, give or take a few days, a week in the heart unit, and then they will release her to the Ronald McDonald house", said Robin.
The family plans to spend between 2 and 6 weeks in the Ronald McDonald house.
A Community Together:
News 10 in February awarded Jodi Southard, a Deming Elementary school teacher with its Make A Difference Award.
Southard, who teaches a sibling of Katelyn Newell heard about Katelyn's heart complications and launched an effort help her raise money.
Southard sold her teaching lessons plans for donations online with the money going towards Newell's soon-to-be medical bills.
"I know at that point I gotta do something and this was just kind of my way of being able to help out at least a little bit, take some of that financial burden off of them", Southard told News 10 in a February interview.
In all, Southard told News 10 she raised more than $10,000, much of it coming in a fast period of time. "I had people all across the country give anywhere from $25 up to $100 and earned over $10,000 in just a little more than a week", said Southard.
News 10 reported in October 2012, the cost of a new heart for Katelyn could cost up to $500K.
Robin Newell said if there's one thing she could tell friends and family back home, it would be about how much Katelynn looks forward to reuniting with friends and family.
"We are relieved that the transplant is over, but she still has a long recovery period, and Katelyn is still looking forward to coming home", said Newell.
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