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W.Va. youth loses battle for life

December 12, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

A Berkeley County, W.Va., boy who received a rare double lung transplant last year died quietly Saturday afternoon at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., according to his aunt.

Jordy Carper, 11, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was surrounded by his family when he died shortly after 1 p.m., said aunt Beth Henry.

Jordy had been in critical condition and on a ventilator since being flown by helicopter to the hospital on Monday, according to hospital officials and family members.

"They went ahead and took him off the machine. He wasn't there anyway," said Henry, who answered the telephone at the Carper home on Saturday night.

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"He's with the good Lord now," she said.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Dell confirmed Jordy's death but said she couldn't comment on any specifics.

Henry, sister of Jordy's father, Gary Carper, said Jordy's mother, Melissa Carper, was home but not feeling up to talking about her son's death.

It has been a long, hard road for the family, Henry said.

Jordy, who had cystic fibrosis, was projected to have only months to live when he underwent surgery in Los Angeles in June 1997 to receive lung lobes donated by a cousin and a family friend.

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

Jordy was able to return to classes at Tuscarora Elementary School in January, but left at the end of February after a spot was found on his lung.

He was being home-schooled with hopes of soon returning to school when he was hospitalized with a collapsed lung and infection in April.

Jordy had gotten well enough to return to school as a sixth-grader at Hedgesville Middle School this fall.

However, in late October, he suffered another setback.

After complaining of feeling tired, Jordy was put on a respirator at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where he had to go every three months to visit a specialist.

Doctors discovered Jordy's lungs had started to fill with liquid, a sign of rejection.

At the time, the boy's grandmother, Sherilyn Barnhart, said doctors gave her grandson heavy doses of anti-rejection drugs and steroids hoping to reverse failure of the organ.

Jordy was well enough to spend Thanksgiving at home with his family, but had to be admitted to Children's Medical Center the following Monday after suffering kidney failure, Barnhart said earlier this week.

He was released a few days later but had to be readmitted on Monday, she said.

Barnhart said Jordy's medications took a toll on his kidneys, resulting in several episodes of kidney failure.

In turn, kidney treatments caused Jordy's lungs to fill with fluid, she said.

Earlier this year, Jordy had a stroke and, as a result, had to use a wheelchair.

Doctors were attempting to stabilize Jordy in the hope he could go home for hospice care, Barnhart said.

He would have turned 12 on Dec. 30.

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