Family has setback in plans to donate lungs

May 05, 1997

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Berkeley County boy with cystic fibrosis will not get a rare lung transplant needed to save his life unless doctors can find a way to combat his body's resistance to antibiotics, his mother said Monday.

Jordy Carper, 10, of Hedgesville is to receive lung lobes from his mother and grandmother during an operation at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

But recent lab tests show his body is resistant to antibiotics, which could make the operation too dangerous because doctors would have to suppress his immune system to do it, Melissa Carper said.

``I was totally devastated,'' by the news, Melissa Carper said. ``It seems like every time we take a step forward we get knocked a step back.''


Cystic fibrosis is America's most prevalent fatal inherited disease, with 30,000 people now afflicted. The disease allows mucus to clog the lungs, where infections can flourish.

Doctors planned to remove one lobe from Melissa Carper's lung and one lobe from Jordy's grandmother, 51-year-old Sherilyn Barnhart. A lobe is part of the lung. One lung has two lobes; the other has three.

Doctors have told Jordy's family he has a year to live if he does not have the rare surgery.

But the constant infections in Jordy's lungs demanded he take a lot of antibiotics and have increased his body's resistance to them, Melissa Carper said.

Jordy will go to Los Angeles for tests sometime in the next two weeks. Doctors at Childrens Hospital will conduct extensive chest therapy and try to reverse his body's resistance to antibiotics, Melissa Carper said. He will have to be off antibiotics for at least a month.

``We are evaluating Jordy's health to determine if we can accept him as a transplant patient,'' said Monica Horn, transplant coordinator for Childrens Hospital.

Melissa Carper said doctors have encouraged her there is a possibility Jordy will respond to the therapy.

Meanwhile, she has not told her son of the setback.

``Unfortunately, if this doesn't work there's no other place to go. I will not tell him about this. I don't want him to give up and I think he probably would,'' Melissa Carper said.

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