Student undergoes heart transplant after initial ‘exam stress’ diagnosis

2018-09-14 12:59
Charlotte Carney undergoes heart transplant after initial ‘exam stress’ diagnosis. (PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

Charlotte Carney undergoes heart transplant after initial ‘exam stress’ diagnosis. (PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

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A student has undergone a heart transplant after doctors allegedly dismissed her symptoms as exam stress.

Charlotte Carney from Cheshire in England suffered from severe fatigue and needed constant naps – but claims doctors suggested her symptoms were linked to stress.

“I was dismissed by doctors due to my age in 2013 and I was told my symptoms were due to exam stress,” said Charlotte.

"But as the years passed my health continued to decline and I struggled to stay awake for longer than a few hours.”

After undergoing numerous tests, the 22-year-old was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition and was placed on the organ transplant list in February.

"I thought I was just really lazy and loved sleep but after tests on my heart I was finally diagnosed.

"I had an ECG test to check my heart's rhythm through the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – and was referred to a cardiologist.

"It was after these tests that I was told I had restrictive cardiomyopathy which meant my heart didn’t fill with blood properly.

"No one had any idea that I had a heart condition but we knew it was serious as I was getting worse.

"Medication didn't help and just three months after my diagnosis I was placed on the waiting list for a new heart,” she said.

Three weeks later Charlotte received the lifesaving call she desperately needed.

"I knew my time was running out and if I didn't have a new organ quickly I was risking being too unwell for the transplant.

"I couldn't believe it when three weeks later I got the call.

"The nurse started asking about the weather at first and then she said, 'I think you know why I'm calling.'

"It was surreal and although I was nervous I knew I had no other choice if I wanted to survive.

"I was so thankful when I woke up but I thought about the donor’s family straight away,” the young woman said.

She spent six days in a coma but after four weeks in hospital she was finally released.


"For the first time in my life I had warm feet. They’d always been cold before.

"My family and friends said I looked really pink too as I'd always been so pale before the surgery.

"I don't need several naps every day now and finally have my independence back.

"I’ve just started back for my final year at university to study forensic psychology and criminal justice.

"I can't thank the family of the heart donor enough and I do hope to one day meet them if they want to,” Charlotte said.

The young woman is now sharing her story to help others realise the importance of being an organ donor.

She was given just a 20% chance of surviving the next two years without having a transplant.

"My quality of life was so poor earlier this year that I don't think I would’ve lasted another two years,” Charlotte said.

"I would only be able to stay awake from 11am until 2pm and even walking a few steps would leave me breathless.

"People need to talk to their families about [organ donation] too so everyone knows what they want.

"The amount of people on the waiting list is endless. I'm just very grateful I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to wait years for their call.”


Source: Magazine Features


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