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Haley waits for heart and lung transplant

A girl who now calls Park Hills home is waiting for a lung and heart transplant.

Yvonda “Sue” West said her 10-year-old daughter, Haley, is in need of both a heart transplant and a lung transplant.

She said her daughter has been on the list for two and a half years. On Sept. 10, Haley, was officially moved to the 1A list, which Sue said is the most critical list.

Sue said her daughter is now on IV medications for her heart. She has to travel to St. Louis Children’s Hospital every two weeks and remains under close monitoring.

Sue said she found out about the heart problems when she was just four months pregnant with Haley. She can rattle off every name of every problem with Haley’s heart, but simplifies it by saying it’s a multi-complex congenital defect.

She said Haley has had 10 surgeries — eight of those for her heart. During an emergency heart surgery in 2003, doctors had to collapse Haley’s lung to get to a shunt due to scar tissue. She said the lung was damaged from that.

She said the family moved to Park Hills from Arkansas about two years ago to be closer to the St. Louis hospital. The family includes a 12-year-old brother, Levi, and a 14-year-old sister, Kattie.

She explained they only have two hours to get to the hospital from the time they are notified of a transplant.

They have a pager that will notify them when organs are available. She’s hoping that pager will go off soon with good news.

“We’ve had two serious calls so far,” she said. “The first call, there was something wrong with the donor lung. The second call, it was a perfect match and everything but they were afraid (the organs) would be too small for her.”

After a successful transplant, she will have to go to the hospital three times a week, and then after some time, she will have to go just once a week and then eventually once a month.

Haley has dealt with her illness well, Sue said. She hasn’t been to school much and is mostly a home-bound student. Her mom describes her as a very outgoing, courageous, red-haired girl who knows no strangers.

She said the girl is very susceptible to colds and doesn’t have a lot of energy.

“She can do what any typical child can do, she just gets out of breath very easily,” Sue said.

She said Haley also has a blue color to her lips, fingernails, and around her eyes.

Sue has started a trust fund for her daughter at Belgrade State Bank in Desloge for funds to travel back and forth from the hospital. There is also currently a donation jar at Casey’s in the old Elvins part of Park Hills.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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