Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

After 42 days of living the relatively "normal" life of a pediatric heart patient in a Palo Alto, Calif., hospital, 8-year-old Lindsey Bingham returned to the intensive care unit Thursday as doctors tried to control her irregular heartbeat.

Lindsey's father, Jason Bingham, said doctors are hopeful medications will get the arrhythmia under control, and she could be out of the ICU within a few days. Then, she can return to attending the in-hospital school while she awaits the heart transplant that could save her life.

Lindsey has been at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital since June 12.

She's on the waiting list for a heart transplant. Until one becomes available, her own failing heart beats with the assistance of a device called a Berlin Heart.

The return to the ICU was devastating to Lindsey, said Jason Bingham.

"She bawled and bawled and bawled," he said Friday. "She's been trying so hard in (physical) therapy, and Stacy (her mother) had to tell her this wasn't her fault."

Lindsey has dilated cardiomyopathy, the same condition that resulted in her older sister, Sierra, receiving a heart transplant six years ago.

"June 12 was her last time outside," Stacy Bingham said during a phone interview from California. "When we go for walks, we find a sunny window. The more she can be out of her room, the better she does."

To keep the family together, the Binghams have enrolled their three other school-age children in Palo Alto, where classes started in mid-August.

Sierra is in seventh grade, Megan is in sixth and Hunter, 5, is in kindergarten. Gage, 3, is not in school yet.

The biggest change is for Lindsey, who is in third grade at Lucile Packard, where teachers consult with each patient's regular teacher back home so they keep on track with their studies.