Teen experiences complications from heart-lung transplant


Teen experiences complications from heart-lung transplant

10:17 p.m. PDT July 27, 2015

Most 13-year-old kids wish for a toy, a new bike, the chance to meet their hero. Oswaldo Jimenez Hernandez, however, wished for a new heart and lungs.

On Saturday, July 18 he got his wish. But along with his wish came some complications.

Oswaldo, a student at Adam Stephens Middle School in Salem, had surgery a couple weekends ago for his pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is similar to high blood pressure, specifically affecting arteries in the lungs and heart. It is a relatively rare disease, affecting somewhere between one in every 100,000 and one in every 1 million people. It is more commonly seen in women, and usually appears around the mid-30s.

Shortly after Oswaldo was diagnosed with the degenerative heart condition at Salem Hospital in 2011, he was referred to a cardiac specialist at Oregon Health & Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. As his condition became progressively worse, he was recommended for a heart and lung transplant in 2014.

He received the surgery from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University in California, but he has been dealing with some complications since the surgery.

“Thank God Oswaldo had his transplant and up until now his body has not rejected it,” said Oswaldo’s mother, Carmen Hernandez. “But he is having complications with the function of his kidney, and he has started having problems breathing.

“He started retaining fluid in his lungs. The doctors are doing everything they can to help him feel better. For now we just continue to wait.”

Hernandez said Oswaldo is extremely weak due to all the weight he has lost. She said that while most patients attempt to walk about four to five days after the surgery, Oswaldo is too out of breath to try walking yet.

Oswaldo’s family has had to do a lot of work to accompany him. They became a Salem sensation when word spread that they were selling homemade tamales to raise money to go to California with him.

They needed to raise thousands of dollars so that Oswaldo’s mother and his 9 year old brother, Aviram, could come to Stanford with Oswaldo and his father, Martin Jimenez.

The family is still seeking support, particularly monetary support, from those willing and able to donate.

npate@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate

To donate, visit the family’s Go Fund Me account at http://www.gofundme.com/oswaldosheart.

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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