Lifewatch: Two heart treatment

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - When Hannah Clark was diagnosed with a heart condition as a toddler she wasn't expected to live very long.

Now, the 16-year-old has made a full recovery, thanks to a life-saving operation which grafted a donor heart to her own.

A donor heart took over the job of pumping her blood so that her heart had a chance to mend.  Three and a half years ago they removed the donor heart and she's made a complete recovery.

"She doesn't go bed until 3:00 AM sometimes, then [she's] back up at 7:00 AM - that's how much energy she's got," said Hannah's mother Liz Clark.

"It's been a hard job keeping her in now - chasing all the boys, sometimes two to three at a time," said Hannah's father Paul Clark.

Those are normal worries for a 16-year-old daughter and are nothing compared to the agony that Paul and Liz have been through in the past.

"When I used to go out with my friends like father and mother were in the car following me," said Hannah.  "Now when I go out they just leave me."

Free of all the powerful medication, Hannah is working with animals for the first time and planning a future in studying child care.

It's easy to forget that for a 16-year-old girl who has struggled her whole live to survive, remembering the past and looking ahead are both daunting tasks.  But for the very first time, Hannah and her family do not need to put on a brave face.

"Seeing Hannah looking so well having seen her before in severe trouble on more than one occasion is an absolute delight because that's what medicine is all about," said Hannah's heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.

Hannah has been called a miracle, but what happened is very real and could now pave the way to giving many other people a chance at a future too.