Palos Hills teen gets rare heart, lung transplant

CHICAGO TRIBUNE | Susan DeMar Lafferty

To hear 15-year-old Spencer Kolman play "Jingle Bells" on his trumpet — even though it's March — is nothing short of a miracle, his family said.

The past few months have been a series of miracles for the Palos Hills teen in his determination to prove doctors wrong, they said.

Kolman was "at death's door" last fall when he and his family sought help at St. Louis Children's Hospital, said Dr. Pirooz Eghtesady, Spencer's pediatric cardiac surgeon.

Last week, Kolman was playing his trumpet, riding his bike, ice skating and planning his Eagle Scout project after a heart and lung transplant Nov. 30 at the St. Louis Children's Hospital.

He also has unwittingly achieved somewhat of a celebrity status, because he is the only pediatric patient in the United States to have this type of double transplant in 2016, his doctors said.

"We got lucky in more ways than one," Eghtesady said.

The first miracle was finding doctors in St. Louis who were willing to do the transplant after two other hospitals declined, saying it was too risky, his family said. Continue reading