Four-year-old Kallie Finn and her dad have a lot in common. They both have dark hair; they like playing Candyland; and they’ve both had a heart transplant at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
In fact, Kallie’s dad, Mitch, was one of the first patients transplanted by the St. Louis Children’s Hospital heart transplant program 24 years ago.
Both father and daughter received care from Dr. Charles Canter, the director of the Heart Transplant Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Since I saw her dad all those years ago, I guess that makes Kallie my ‘grand-patient,” jokes Dr. Canter.
Much has changed in the time between Kallie and Mitch’s transplants. While Mitch required a very sophisticated heart-lung bypass machine to keep him alive while he awaited his transplant, Kallie was able to use a pumping device called a Berlin heart. Unlike her dad, Kallie was able to get up and walk around, play and eat normally while on the Berlin heart, which helped ensure her body was in the best possible condition to tolerate transplant surgery once a donor heart was available.
To meet Kallie and Mitch and hear more about their story, check out this recent feature on KSDK: