When you're only three and have four big brothers, you practically have to become a super hero to survive. Little Charlie McMicken channeled all the super strength he had to ward off a deadly foe.
"He started not eating, throwing up, crying non-stop," Sarah McMicken, Charlie's mom said.
Shortly after he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with cardio myopathy.
"He was born with a condition where his muscle cells are not normal. He wasn't able to run around and eventually, it got bad enough where he wasn't able to eat. It was scary seeing him," Bob Stewart, MD, Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgeon at The Cleveland Clinic said.
A new device changed everything for Charlie. It's the pediatric Berlin Heart, a similar but smaller version of a device that helped former Vice President Dick Cheney when his heart was failing. In children, it sits outside the body and it's connected to the heart by multiple tubes. The device pumps blood to vital organs, helping the failing heart. "Everything was better quite quickly," Dr. Steward said.
August marked Charlie's eleventh month in the Cleveland Clinic. For 6 months, he was tethered to his life line. "If we didn't have that, we wouldn't be here. I mean, it saved his life," said Sarah. But it was only a temporary fix. Charlie needed a heart transplant to survive and be back with his brothers.
Charlie's brothers Ryan, Jake, and Johnny all expressed their desire to play with Charlie again. "I can't wait to go home and throw the baseball with him," Ryan said. "I wanna go swimming in the pool with him," said Jake. "I wanna have a huge party and celebrate him coming back. I've missed him so much," said Johnny.
We're happy to report that Charlie has received his heart, and doctors say he is doing well.
Before FDA approval of the pediatric Berlin Heart, emergency access was only given to child patients with special written permission. The device would have to be flown in from Germany, and patients would wait several days to get it, time that many young heart patients didn't have.