Teen transplant patient gives

Heartfelt Thanks

Maria Wilmes was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) at age two.

She would eventually need a heart-lung transplant.

Maria’s doctors gave her five to 10 years before she would need a heart/lung transplant.  

Growing up, Maria’s activities were limited. She was unable to engage in active play with other children; she mostly watched.  Maria was able to manage her disease through the care of  the pediatric cardiologist and medical team at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

In September 2017, 15-year-old Maria’s health quickly began to decline.

The week of Thanksgiving, Maria’s name was added to the transplant list.

On December 5, 2017, Maria became the first patient to receive a heart-lung transplant at Nebraska Medicine, marking the first time a heart-lung transplant has been performed in the state of Nebraska.

Maria’s surgery went very well without any major complications. She is currently in pulmonary rehabilitation to regain her physical strength with the hope that she can return home by the end of March and start living a normal life. 

Nebraska Medicine chose Valentine’s Day — that is also National Donor Day — to announce it had performed a heart-lung transplant on the15-year-old girl from Dakota City, Nebraska.

Those who participated in the press conference included heart-lung transplant patient Maria and her parents, Mike and Gina Wilmes of Dakota City, Nebraska; Aleem Siddique, MBBS, Surgical Director of Lung Transplantation at Nebraska Medicine; Heather Strah, MD, Medical Director of Lung Transplantation at Nebraska Medicine; and Scott Fletcher, MD, Maria’s Pediatric Cardiologist at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

Maria is the granddaughter of Mike and Audrey (Weber) Wagner of Sleepy Eye and formerly of Sanborn / Springfield, and  has many uncles, aunts and cousins living in the Springfield area.


See complete story in this week's edition of the Springfield Advance-Press.

Springfield Advance-Press

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