During his last physical before leaving Shands Children’s Hospital at the University of Florida, UF physicians discovered a serious heart murmur in two-day-old Wyatt Thomas.
His parents, Ann and Johnny Thomas, welcomed Wyatt into the world on Aug. 13, 2009, and were ready to go home to Wyatt’s six brothers and sisters. However, when the medical staff discovered the reason for Wyatt’s heart murmur (a rare condition called truncus arteriorsus), the struggle for his life began. The two large arteries in his heart, the aorta and the pulmonary, combined to form one large vessel. This increased the blood flow to his lungs and could have led to congestive heart failure. Wyatt underwent his first surgery at six days old and finally went home. Nine days later he was back at Shands. Within 10 minutes of his arrival, his heart stopped beating. Doctors resuscitated him, and Ann and Johnny soon prepared for what would be a very long stay.
Over the next month, Wyatt endured more surgeries. Doctors placed him on a heart-transplant list. This was his only option because UF physicians deemed him too young for a Berlin Heart, the artificial device that helps a heart pump blood throughout the body. However, on Oct. 20, 2009, Wyatt became one of the youngest people in the world to receive the device.
Almost eight months later, Wyatt experienced another miracle – a new heart. He received the transplant on May 24, 2010, and within two days, he was already breathing on his own without a ventilator. Wyatt is well on his way to becoming the healthy, normal boy he had been working so hard to become.