E-town teen receives the gift of life

BOSTON, Mass. - Someday, they would love to have the chance to say, "thank you."

That's what Walter "Smitty" Marvin said a couple of days after his son, Brock, received a long-awaited new heart in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 11.

"We would love to meet them and just have the chance to thank them," said Marvin about the family who lost the loved one whose heart now beats for Brock. "You just hate to think about what they are going through, but you hope that they would look at Brock and see that their decision or the decision of their loved one is the reason why he is living today."

Marvin said the only way that the family would get that opportunity is if the donor family wanted to find out where the organ went.

"We've discussed that, but there is a very stiff protocol and the hospital can't tell you anything," said Marvin. "If the donor family opts that they want to find out, then there is a whole set of practices that they have to go through and it is all run through the hospital."

Marvin said it had been an exciting week for families of patients at the Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass., as two other children waiting on the transplant list also received the news they had been waiting for.

"The night before, a 21-month old from Malone received a transplant, and a teenage girl got one a few days earlier," Marvin said. "The tempo has really been up here because there had been a dry spell for heart transplants and now they have had three in 10 days."

Brock's surgery was performed by Dr. Betsy Blume, and Marvin said that the procedure went smoothly.

"It all happened so quickly once we found out the heart was on its way," said Marvin. "They brought him in around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday to prep and they made the incision into his chest at about 4:50 a.m. They had him on an external pump at about 5:30 a.m., the heart was in the hospital at about 5:45 a.m. and once they had it in, it started beating on its own. Everything really went flawlessly - it was a really perfect case scenario."

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