The long wait for Katelyn Newell has finally ended.
Wednesday evening, she successfully underwent heart transplant surgery at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
“The heart is in and beating,” said her happy but exhausted mother, Robin Newell, at about 8:45 p.m.
Doctors were completing the procedure and also had to run some tests and do bloodwork, Newell said. “I’m ready to see her.”
She would rejoin her daughter in the intensive care unit.
Newell had last seen Katelyn about 3 p.m., when the 8-year-old Deming Elementary student was taken to the operating room to prepare for surgery.
The transplant began about 7 p.m. and went quickly. Earlier in the day, Dr. Mark Turrentine went to an out-of-state hospital to receive the heart and take it back to Riley.
When he arrived back, the medical team, and Katelyn, were ready. Surgeons had the little girl’s chest open and she was on a bypass machine that pumped her blood through her body.
“They took out the old heart and put in the new,” Newell said.
It was a whirlwind day, full of emotion, for the family.
At 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Newell received the much-awaited news that a suitable donor heart had been found for Katelyn. If everything checked out, a heart transplant would take place later in the day.
Newell paced the hospital floor for two hours, thinking about the major surgery ahead and waiting for Katelyn to wake up.
Katelyn, a second-grade student at Deming, has been hospitalized at Riley since Jan. 4. She was born with a heart defect and has had previous heart surgeries.
Just after 3 p.m., Newell sat in a waiting room; her daughter had just been taken to the operating room. “I'm shocked. Scared. Nervous. Happy. Overwhelmed,” Newell said in an interview. “I didn't want to let go of her.”
Her fiancé, Scott Moody, arrived at Riley about 4:30 a.m. Also in a waiting area was Monica Trotter, Newell’s mother and Katelyn's grandmother.
“We're deeply grateful to the family willing to do this” and allow their own personal tragedy — the death of a loved one — to mean a new heart and a healthy life for Katelyn, Trotter said.
Late in the afternoon, surgery was not absolute. The family needed word from Turrentine, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, that the donor heart would work and the transplant would happen. About 4 p.m., the family breathed a sigh of relief. Turrentine described the donor heart as “beautiful.”
Then, it was a matter of waiting for him to bring the heart back to Riley.
Katelyn learned the good news about 5:30 a.m. “She was happy and excited,” Newell said. Later that morning, Katelyn shared her news with her Deming Elementary classmates.
“I’m getting my new heart,” she told them, using iPads and Facetime. She wanted to tell her classmates personally. She spoke with each classmate, and each one gave her a long-distance hug or high-five.
As Katelyn eagerly waited for her new heart, medical staff explained to her what would happen. They showed her how they would put a surgical mask on her face as she fell asleep prior to surgery.
To prepare her, they gave her frozen plasma to thicken her blood because she has been on blood thinner. They also took X-rays and did blood work.
“She was a trooper” about not being able to eat or drink, Newell said.
Also during the day, a music therapist spent time with Katelyn, and they played guitars.
At Deming Elementary, news spread quickly in the morning. “People just broke down when they heard she is getting the heart,” said Susan Mardis, school principal. Several gathered to say a prayer for the little girl; they prayed that surgery would go well, and they also prayed for the family “who lost their child and gave selflessly” to provide a donor heart, Mardis said.
Mardis also phone-messaged Deming parents — with Newell’s permission.
Two of Katelyn’s brothers, who also attend Deming, were excited that their sister finally will get her heart. “Robert [Newell] was telling everybody,” Mardis said. He is in first grade.
Fifth-grade brother Alex Moody was happy as well. “That’s the first time I’ve seen him smile in quite a while,” Mardis said.
A school nurse, Lisa Isaacs, planned to read a story about heart transplants to Katelyn’s classmates. “We thought she could answer medical questions and will know how to deal with the children without tearing up,” Mardis said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or email@example.com.
Day full of emotion for Newell family
The long wait for Katelyn Newell has finally ended.
Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy
The Terre Haute City Council took well more than an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.
State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit
A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.
ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo
Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.
Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments
An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.
UW kicks off pilot campaign
Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.
Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential
Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam
A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.
Rain barrels offered for sale
The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.
Tips lead to meth lab bust
Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.
Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie
Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.
A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.
MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers
We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.
City Council to take up city finances tonight
The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.
Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement
Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.
Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges
Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.
Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle
A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.
Free carwash for law enforcement
Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.
Hitting a high note
A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.
Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back
Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.
Return to Indiana?
Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party
Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.
VIDEO UPDATE: Guys give food bank a lift
A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.
‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody
A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.
eBus brings financial empowerment to town
A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”
Maker of history
A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.
Petitioners push for recycling at fair
A Vigo County environmental activist hopes to convince the Vigo County Fair Board to start recycling, especially during the county fair, and has started an online petition.
Veterans call on commissioners to protect war memorial
Installing a camera on the second floor of the Sullivan County Courthouse may be one solution to curtailing what several veterans are calling a disgrace to a memorial that honors Americans who gave their lives in service to the country.
Schools ethics case: Proposed deal to be reviewed
The State Ethics Commission is set to review a proposed settlement Thursday in the ethics case against former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.
Man airlifted to Indy after early morning crash
A Clay City man sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision early Monday morning on Indiana 46 at Riley Road southeast of Terre Haute.
Man agrees to plea on youth sex charges
A Terre Haute man received a suspended sentence in a plea agreement signed Monday as his jury trial was about to commence in Vigo Superior Court 1.
- More News Headlines
- Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy