Hearts go out to Binghams

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board February 15, 2013 08:18 am

In the early hours of Thursday at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., Dr. Katz Meada did something that, even in this era of miraculous medical procedures, we scarcely can believe is possible.

Just a few hours after he was photographed with his arm around 9-year-old Lindsey Bingham’s shoulders, the surgeon reached into Lindsey’s chest, extracted the diseased heart the Baker County girl was born with, and replaced it with a healthy heart.

That Lindsey’s life was saved on Valentine’s Day, the holiday most directly associated with hearts, is of course a mere coincidence, though indeed quite a happy one.

It was fitting, too, that the most jubilant response was from Lindsey herself, who, on learning that her 239-day ordeal of depending on a mechanical device to keep her alive was ending, screamed her joy in a moment her dad, Jason, captured on video (you can watch the video, and get updates on the Bingham family, on their blog, www.jasonandstacybingham.blogspot.com).

But for the Bingham family, this landmark event is neither the first of its kind, nor, sadly, is is guaranteed to be the last.

Lindsey suffers from the same malady, dilated cardiomyopathy, that afflicted her older sister, Sierra.

Sierra, now 13, who is the eldest of the Binghams’ five children, received her new heart in 2006.

Each of the three other children — Gage, 4, Hunter, 6, and Megan, 11 — has been diagnosed with potential heart problems, although it’s not known whether any will need a transplant.

Gage had a pacemaker installed last summer.

Sierra continues to do well with her “new” heart.

And of course we hope for an equally happy outcome for Lindsey.

But we also hope this is the last time one of the Binghams has to celebrate the arrival of a new, healthy heart.