Toddler goes home with new heart, one of 65 organ transplants carried out in Spain’s capital Madrid during Covid-19 pandemic

A toddler has returned home with a healthy new heart this week, one of 65 successful organ transplants performed in Madrid’s hospital since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CHLOE, 22 months old, was admitted to the Gregorio Marañón Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on December 9, before coronavirus had consumed hospital resources, and now, months later she is back with her family in the town Pinto.

Chloe’s heart transplant is one of 65 organ transplants performed in hospitals in the Community of Madird since the State of Alarm was declared to combat the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of almost 8,000 in the region.

While all of the health care centres, both public and private, have been overwhelmed providing emergency care, Madrid Health Service professionals have also carried out thousands of operations and baby deliveries.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, almost 5,000 deliveries and more than 4,500 urgent operations have been carried out, including those on patients with cancer, heart disease and hip fractures, though many non-urgent have been postponed.

In addition, around 1,500 strokes heart attack patients have been treated, some of whom also required surgical intervention.

From a ward at the Gregorio Marañón ICU, where Chloe has been since December, her mother told El Mundo she had first hand hows the coronavirus evolved “practically overnight.”

She explained how professionals immediately reinforced resources designating “floors for the infected,” and how “there was a drop in the number of other patients due to the suspension of programmed surgeries.”

Masks became essential in the paediatric unit, including for families, “even if they did not go out into the street.”

Aside from complications from the transplant itself, she admitted she feared the virus “very much” adding: “We’ve been through a lot of fear. When the new heart arrived from Barcelona, they tested it… otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible.”

The result was negative, as was the test carried out on the organ donor, through a safety protocol specially designed for health alert circumstances such as the pandemic.

So, after a month on the waiting list, Chloe’s operation was carried out, and four weeks later, the masked toddler returns home to her parents and older sister amidst the applause of health personnel.

“The pressure on our hospitals has increased during these weeks due to the evolution of Covid-19,” said President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, adding, “but children have continued to be born in the centres and patients affected by stroke or heart attacks and in need of urgent operations have been attended to.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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