13 year old girl refuses heart transplant

United States
November 16, 2008 10:50pm CST
I just read a story about a thirteen year old girl who has refused a heart transplant. Her name is Hannah, and she has had many health problems in her short life. She has fought leukemia and is currently in remission, but the treatment damaged some of her other organs and she has had to have many operations and been on medication that makes her feel ill much of the time. Now doctors tell her that her heart is failing, and without a heart transplant, she'll probably die soon. Because of her various health problems, there's a good chance that she won't survive the transplant, and if she does, there's a good chance that the immunosuppressants she'll have to take to avoid rejecting the heart will cause her leukemia to come out of remission. Hannah has decided that she doesn't want the heart transplant. She just wants to spent whatever time she has left to live at home where she can play with her brothers and sisters. Her parents have talked it through, and have decided that they'll abide by her wishes. Most of the people who commented on the story commended her bravery in all that she's gone through, but a few had other opinions. One even said he was glad that they wouldn't be wasting a heart on her since she obviously didn't have the will and the courage to live. No one questioned the parents' decision to allow her to turn down the heart transplant. I have to say that I can't imagine what they must be going through, and without ever having been there, I won't and can't pass judgment on them. I think... I hope... that I could accept my child's decision and find some peace in it. What do you think? If this were your child, would you accept her decision, or would you make the decision for her because you want her to live?
5 responses
@juhi06 (1850)
• India
17 Nov 08
i will say she is too small to have her own decision on this! let the team of expert doctors and the parents decide on his serious matter!!
• United States
17 Nov 08
I think the doctors have made it clear that the heart transplant has little chance of being completely successful, and that it may actually make her life worse and more painful. It would be a very difficult decision for me to make as a parent. I think - I hope - that if my child had reached this decision, I could find it in my heart to accept it.
@oldboy46 (2132)
• Australia
24 Nov 08
This would not have been en easy decision for Hannah, or her parents for that matter because they would have had to take her feelings into consideration when they agreed with her decision. It must be heartbreaking for them but at the same time all credit to the parents for supporting Hannah at this terrible time. At least she gets a chance to spend some time at home with her siblings and her parents and this time together will be vital for all of them. It might also help them deal with the loss of Hannah when the time eventually does come. From the news reports that I saw and read, Hannah as spent a lot of her life in hospital receiving treatment. In an interview I saw on television with her and her parents, she did sound mature beyond her years. I would think that her maturity has come as a result of all the medical procedures she has undergone over the years and the amount of time she has spent in hospital. One comment that was made was that over the years a number of other patients she had been in hospital with at various times had passed away. Hannah said she did not want to be like that and spend the rest of her life in a hospital. My thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and her family. I am sure that they will make the most of the time that they have left together while Hannah camn enjoy some quality of life. Hannah and her parents are an inspiration, although I am not sure that I could make the decision if it was one of my (adult) children who was in this same position. Thankfully none of them are.
• United States
24 Nov 08
Agreed. I don't know how I'd handle the same situation. I think of the family often, and always say a little internal prayer that they are at peace with Hannah's decision and enjoying their time with her.
@subha12 (18453)
• India
17 Nov 08
I have read this few days back. Hats off to this young soul. she has rather dedicated it to other who are in line for heart transplant. she thinks it is possible she can't be fully cured also.
• United States
17 Nov 08
Yes, I believe the doctors made it clear that the heart transplant could cause her other illnesses to recur and her health to get worse. She wants to spend whatever life God grants her being happy and spending the time with her brothers and sisters. I think it's admirable, even though I would want my child to fight every inch of the way.
• China
4 Sep 09
I don't have a child now ,if this were my child ,I just try to imagine that situation,I will fight with myself in my heart ,what I can choose? respect my child or try my best to save her life,I don't know ,maybe try to persuaded her to accept the treatment.
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
28 Jun 09
There's alot to this...I can see where after all the problems she's had she's probably sick and tired of it and just wants to be left alone. At the same time, I can see where it would be a very diffcult decision to let your child go even if it stops the pain their in. And finally I can see the persons view of not wasting a heart on her...if she doesn't have the will to live, giving her a transplant isn't going to help. Alot of times a persons attitude has alot to do with whether they pull through or not. I hope that whatever they decide that she finds some comfort and peace. [b]~~AT PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS**[/b]