8 April 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A Clontibret family whose little girl Jessica was the beneficiary of a heart transplant has encouraged the people of Co Monaghan to become active in support of organ donation. Young parents Elaine McMahon (25) and her partner Stephen Hall (26) had little idea that their world would be turned upside down when their second child Jessica was born with a suspected heart murmur which led to a diagnosis of two potentially fatal heart conditions.

They already had a four-year-old boy, Daniel. It soon became apparent Jessica’s only chance of survival was a heart transplant as her health deteriorated. Following a catalogue of serious health battles including cardiac arrest she was put on life support at Crumlin Children’s Hospital while waiting for a donor heart to come along. Jessica suffered multiple infections and in July 2015, after multi-organ failure, her chances of survival looked bleak. All the time her mother stayed by her bedside, only leaving late at night to stay nearby in the Ronald McDonald House in Crumlin. Following eight months on life support, it was in early autumn 2015 that her family’s prayers were finally answered.

They received an early morning call advising that a donor heart had become available and Jessica was immediately flown by Air Corps to Great Ormond Street for her vital heart transplant. She was just nine months old when she underwent the operation which saved her life. Speaking about Jessica’s story her mother Elaine said, “Unfortunately Jessica’s time in Intensive Care at Crumlin in 2015 was very challenging for her and her excellent medical team. For myself and my family it was heart-breaking…


Elaine McMahon with her heart transplant recipient baby Jessica, son Daniel and partner Stephen Hall

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