Gift of love: Queensland’s first heart transplant mother

The Australian | Janelle Miles, The Courier Mail

Amanda Hill had a heart transplant when she was 20. Source: News Corp Australia

I’M in heart failure, I may not make it.”

Amanda Hill taps out the words in a text to a friend, but the gravity of her plight is yet to sink in.

The 20-year-old has been admitted to hospital for the first time in her life. She’s rarely been sick, apart from the occasional cold, the odd stomach bug and a bout of chickenpox in childhood, so the doctor’s message, delivered with little attempt to soften its impact, is confronting: “You’re in critical heart failure. Get your family and friends in.”

Hill hears the words and sees the tears of her mother, Bindi Leech, but the armour of youth acts as her protector.

“I didn’t take it seriously at that point,” she says.

“To me, it was still a joke. It didn’t seem real. I was like: ‘I’m 20. They’re going to tell me tomorrow that it’s all a big mistake’.”

It wasn’t. A flu-like virus had attacked her heart, which was inflamed and working at only about 20 per cent capacity.

In medical-speak, she had severe viral myocarditis. For Hill to survive, she might need a heart transplant and that was not available at Mater Private Hospital, in South Brisbane, where she was first assessed. Continue reading