11-year-old Illinois boy gets artificial heart as he waits for donor

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Jaheim Whigham

Jaheim Whigham is an 11-year-old Aurora boy who made medical history when an artificial heart was implanted his is small chest.

"He is the world's youngest and smallest patient to undergo a successful implant of the 50cc SynCardia temporary total artificial heart. He is one of 40 implants in the world, so congratulations," said Dr. Carl backer, a cardiac surgeon at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

On Tuesday, Jaheim met with the media at Lurie and showed everyone how well he's doing.

"I feel great," he told reporters.

The SynCardia temporary total artificial heart was implanted in his young chest and will keep him alive until a real donor heart can be found.
Jaheim, who will get a real heart in three to six months, has been fighting to stay alive his whole life. There have been times of hope and times of despair, but it seems now that -- at last -- the good times are ahead.

He has had close calls before but this time the odds were in his favor.

Jaheim was born with a bad heart. At age seven, he had his first transplant. That went great until this past fall when it started to fail. That's when doctors had to put in this new artificial heart.

His parents were emotion on Tuesday as they spoke to reporters.

"It's an amazing thing to be here and have my kid be with me every single day and to know we have a fighting team for us is amazing," said his father Michael Whigham.

"It's hard for me, but when I look at Jaheim, it makes me smile and it brings me up and gives me motivation," said mother Lakim Whigham.

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healthsurgeryheart defects
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