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Fluctuations in heart transplants affect patients

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Updated: 2/05 7:02 pm
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Doctors said there was no hope for a 9-year-old girl but that isn’t stopping her from fighting.

Rachel Hope McCary was born with half a heart.

“I always tried to be happy and never give up,” Rachel said.

Her adoptive parents are anxiously waiting for a new heart that could save her life.

"I'm torn between wanting that phone to ring and already grieving for another family," said Rachel’s mother, Lori McCary.

University of Florida associate professor of pediatric cardiology Dr. Robert English knows the difficult position the family is in.

Rachel has been waiting 11 months for a transplant- more than the average two to four months.

Action News looked up the number of pediatric heart transplants performed in Gainesville, where Rachel is being treated, and the data shows that donations for transplants have come and gone in waves. 

English says, “We'll go through periods of time where they don't have any transplants for several months in a row and then we'll have a lot again.”

Nearly 2,000 children are on the wait list for a heart donation right now.

“Most families have never even thought about it with their own kids ahead of time and most of us wouldn't want to,” said English.

There are only three locations in Florida where transplants performed: Gainesville, Tampa and Miami.

According to doctors, a new person is added to the donor list every 10 minutes.

To see how to donate, check with Donate Life Florida.
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