KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Just over a week ago, a Kansas City couple did what they once thought was impossible: They brought their baby home from the hospital.
Little Jack Palmer was born in January with a rare heart condition, and his parents were given little hope that he would survive. But now, Baby Jack is the youngest child in more than a decade to survive a heart and lung transplant, and his parents know he's a true miracle.
Baby Jack waited 100 days for a life saving transplant.
"Days before he was born we were potentially planning a funeral," Jack's dad, Chuck Palmer, told WDAF.
At 20 weeks, they knew something was wrong with his heart—doctors told them he would probably be stillborn and advised them to terminate the pregnancy. But they never wavered and hope came with news of a transplant.
"That day came and it was scary, exciting, emotional knowing that you are sending your son back for one of the biggest surgeries ever, but knowing without it, he didn't have a chance," Tiffany said.
An excruciating 11 hours later in a St. Louis hospital, Baby Jack had a new heart and lungs.
"'Thank you' doesn't go far enough," Tiffany said. "Knowing that they made their hardest decision on their worst day, but they gave us life. They gave Jack a second chance at life, and we could never be more grateful for that decision and I hope they know that we are making it the best chance possible."
Tiffany says it's still in early phases, and since Baby Jack is the first in a decade to survive the double transplant, longterm prognosis is dicey.
"We try not to focus on the complications that entails," she said. "The heart part of it is the least of our worries. It's the lungs that your body tries to destroy or reject."
With tiny lungs full of air and a heart full of hope, Baby Jack continues his incredible journey, as beads of battles won adorn his bedpost.
Chuck and Tiffany Palmer say their message to other parents whose children face life-threatening illnesses is three-fold:
1) Don't be afraid to get a second opinion.
2) Register as an organ donor.
3) Never give up hope.
To become an organ donor in Utah, you just need to say “yes” on your driver’s license or state ID card. You can also learn more or sign up by clicking here.