This Father’s day was memorable for a father from Boston and it was all thanks go to the life-saving doctor who gave a new heart (and new hope) to 7-month-old Lucas Pacheco.
Brett Pacheco’s son Lucas, who has been fighting a rare heart condition, got relief from the extended stay in hospital on this Father's Day. The infant got a life-saving heart transplant, and he is now safe at home with his family. The little boy's father has been strong throughout, but certain moments still make him choke up him with happiness. He cannot forget the months of struggle that they have been through.
Boston Children’s doctors tackle baby’s rare disorderhttps://t.co/H005OWf3lf— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) August 12, 2019
Three months after Luca's birth, he caught a cold. Within a short time, Pacheco and his wife, Alexia Orphanides, observed that his breathing was quick and raspy. Initially, they perceived it as a common cold, but soon it ascended into a months-long stay at Boston Children’s Hospital. The parents watched helplessly as their little son became nearly unrecognizable with each IV and tube hooked on to him.
The baby was diagnosed with rare heart disease - pediatric cardiomyopathy, which caused his left ventricle of the heart enflamed. Thus, it failed to function appropriately and restricted the amount of blood spread in the entire body.
Pacheco was not unaware of this genetic disorder, as his sister, Tara Pacheco, was diagnosed with the same ailment two years back. Though her case was less complicated and could be treated with a defibrillator implanted in her chest, Luca’s was more extreme and needed a heart transplant.
Recalling the transplant, Orphanides said, “I knew we were going that route, but I didn't want to admit it to myself. I knew we were not coming out of there without it; he just seemed so bad off.” Since April into May, she couldn’t recall a single day when she has not cried.
Doctors tried all options - stabilization, medication, intubation, and extubating the baby- but nothing seemed to work. Soon Lucas had open-heart surgery and was given a Berlin Heart, which is a type of artificial heart that pumps blood from the left ventricle and sends it to the aorta. It was hoped this would keep him stable until his heart transplant.
The couple also has a 2-year old daughter, Callista Pacheco. They had to switch their time between the two kids constantly. It was a tough time, and when the call from doctors came on June 16, they were speechless.
Following a nine-hour operation in June, Lucas was in the hospital for another month, before being finally welcomed home by the family in New Bedford on July 18.
His family decorated their living room with posters from the hospital, 'welcome home' banners, balloons, and family photos. Little Lucas is in the lovely shelter of his parents, sister, aunt Tara and grandmother Carol Orphanides. But, he will need a heart transplant every 10-20 years and will stay on medications for his whole life.