A Chicago teenager is finally going home today after getting the transplant he needed to survive.
When Thomas Castillo was just 15 years old doctors told him that he had a 50 percent chance of living. The Chicago native was suffering from congenital heart and liver failure, and while waiting for transplants had a stroke. Transplant hopes were dwindling until a donor became available to provide Thomas with both a heart and a liver.
“[The doctor] smiled and he said ‘how would you like to go to surgery today?’ Are you kidding, wait are you serious, and I was so ecstatic I hugged him,” said Linda Rebeles, Thomas’ Grandmother to ABC Milwaukee affiliate WISN.
In February Dr. James Tweddel led the heart transplant team at Milwaukee’s Children’s Hospital.
“The transplant was a coordinated effort. A donor became available, whom we could obtain an excellent heart and liver and the operation took place over 17 hours,” said Dr. Tweddel.
Thomas’ surgery was the first-ever double transplant done on a child under 17 in Wisconsin. Leaving the hospital sporting his new Packer’s jersey, Thomas said he’d like to return the favor by becoming a heart transplant surgeon himself one day.
As for his family, they say none of this would be possible without organ donations. “I don’t think thank you is enough.”