In a heartbeat, boy gets transplant

Bailey Venet (center) walks with his family, mother Heidi (left), father Eric (second from right) and his brother, Rayden, 2, who gets a ride in Bailey's wheelchair during Bailey's discharge from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on Wednesday after heart transplant surgery.(Photo: Pat A. Robinson / for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Bailey Venet's doctor says fate smiled on the boy. Bailey's mom and dad praise God for saving their child.

The teen's name rose to the top of a transplant list a mere three hours after signup — speed never before seen at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin — and he received a heart.

Adding to his good fortune, Bailey left the hospital and went home Wednesday, his 15th birthday.

"I'm very grateful, and I think it's really amazing how fast it happened," he said.

Bailey went into cardiac arrest twice, in December 2014 and again this month. He was at school both times and lucky that someone who knew CPR and how to operate a defibrillator was nearby. It became clear that he would need a new heart.

Pediatric heart transplants began happening as recently as the 1980s. Children's Hospital performs about 12 to 15 a year on average, with more than 600 a year done worldwide. It's not unusual for a child to wait weeks or months for a new heart to become available. Continue reading
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