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Jordy suffers a setback

October 26, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Eleven-year-old lung transplant patient Jordy Carper was put on a respirator at a Los Angeles hospital after he complained of feeling tired, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

But beyond that, officials at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles would not comment on Jordy's prognosis.

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The Hedgesville, W.Va., boy remained in serious condition at the hospital Monday afternoon.

"They're usually very hesitant to get involved in a prognosis. We're just trying to get him healthy," said hospital spokesman Steve Rutledge.

Jordy, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, underwent a rare double-lung transplant in June 1997, with lung lobes donated from a relative and a family friend.

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Cystic fibrosis is a disease that attacks the lungs by producing a thick mucus that can cause infection and lead to death by suffocation.

Although there have been complications since Jordy's surgery, he was well enough to return to classes with fellow sixth-graders this fall at Hedgesville Middle School and people were impressed by how healthy he looked.

Pro football Hall of Famer Sam Huff said one of the last times he saw Jordy was at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va., during a planning meeting for the West Virginia Breeders Classics.

Jordy's cheeks were full and healthy looking during the August meeting, and he didn't show any sign of complications, said Huff.

Then last week, doctors discovered Jordy's lungs had started to fill with fluid, a sign of rejection.

Sherilyn Barnhart said doctors on Thursday gave her grandson heavy doses of anti-rejection drugs and steroids they hope will reverse the failure of the organ.

Huff said the turn of events has been "devastating" to him and the people who have helped Jordy, including local lawmakers and Gov. Cecil H. Underwood.

"It's almost like one of your children. We're all participating in this," Huff said Monday.

On Saturday, Huff and others raised about $5,000 at Charles Town Races to offset Jordy's medical expenses. Fans donated money to rub elbows with Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Mark Mosley and other football notables, and Huff auctioned an autographed photograph of him and Johnny Unitas.

The track bought the picture for $3,800.

Jordy and his family have been traveling to Los Angeles every three months to see specialists, and he has had monthly checkups in Washington, D.C.

He also takes antidepressants and anti-rejection drugs daily.

Doctors said that without the transplant, Jordy would have died within a year.

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