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Girl's Brain Damage 'Irreversible'

Feb 21, 2003 | Raleigh News & Observer

Jesica Santillan, a 17-year-old heart-lung transplant recipient, has suffered "severe and irreversible brain injury," Duke doctors said this afternoon.

"Yesterday after the transplant we were all very hopeful,Jesica seemed to be doing well." said Dr. Karen Frush, an emergency medicine specialist and medical director of the Children's Hospital."This morning her status deteriorated acutely." Frush said a CT scan confirmed fears that she had marked increase in swelling with some
bleeding in the brain.

Additional tests will be conducted this afternoon, but a family spokesman said that doctors portrayed Jesica's condition in the more common term as being "brain dead."

Mack Mahoney, a Louisburg builder and benefactor to Jesica's family, said he understands that she will die.

She is on artificial life support. It will take another 24 hours to verify that she is brain dead, Mahoney said. She has also suffered kidney failure. Her heart and lungs continue to function well.

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