NWA child in need of transplant amid coronavirus pandemic

KNWA

Most of Natalie Jeffs' life has been spent in and out of hospitals.

CENTERTON, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Most of Natalie Jeffs’ life has been spent in and out of hospitals.

“When she was six she also needed her mitral valve replaced so she had her second open heart surgery then,” Amy said.

Her mother Amy says doctors in Cincinnati diagnosed the 12-year-old with a genetic condition that caused damage to her liver. She also started developing lung complications. Doctors recommended a heart and liver transplant – so they packed their bags and headed from Centerton to Ohio.

“As soon as we got there she ended up getting the flu and apparently after you have the flu you have to wait four weeks before you can be listed for transplants,” Amy said.

While Natalie was recovering from the flu, COVID-19 started to spread – pushing that follow up back a few days.

“They decided to let us wait for the remainder of our four weeks at home and to also give some time to kind of see what happens with the coronavirus,” Amy said.

Until then Natalie is under strict isolation.

“[I] Visit with my friends online,” Natalie said.

“She potentially could be on the waiting list for a year so we don’t want to put his off any longer than we have to,” Amy said.

Amy says she’s still keeping in contact with doctors to make sure Natalie’s health isn’t declining.

“If she were to go into surgery right now and catch this virus that’s going around – it could be devasting for her,” Amy said. “We just want the safest route and whatever is going to work out the best for her.”

Amy says doctors here in Northwest Arkansas are also helping protect Natalie by meeting with her outside of their office.

Amy says they’re hoping to go back to Ohio at the end of the month to see whether Natalie will be added to the waiting list but there’s a chance that date will be pushed back again because of COVID-19.

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