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Heart transplant patient back home | Health

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Heart transplant patient back home
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Heart transplant patient back home

A 16-year-old Asotin boy who received a heart transplant on February 14th of last year has returned home. Paul Nagle was born with a severe heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which according to his mother, Duree Nagle, means he was basically born with half a heart. Paul had three open-heart surgeries before he was three-years-old.

In 2011, the family relocated to Seattle to be near doctors. Paul was listed on the national donor site on July 18, 2011, and received the new heart on Valentine's Day last year. He spent 1-1/2 months in the hospital because he had rejection which was severe enough to require treatment with chemotherapy, Nagle says.

Since the family returned to Asotin after nearly two years in Seattle, Paul and his brother Philip are trying to readjust to attending Asotin High School, as they used to attend that school when we left. Paul is a sophomore and Philip is a freshman. "It was difficult for the boys to leave all their friends & attend a new school in Seattle and now they'll have to catch up as much as possible," according to their mom.

Meanwhile, with the family being gone for so long, their home was invaded by mice, making it uninhabitable by Paul because of his immune system. "The mice have ruined everything; they've removed the insulation from the kitchen stove and made a nest with it, they climbed on clothes in the closets and climbed up and down them (leaving a mess all over them); they have ruined the beds and couches too-they had free reign of the house," Nagle says. The family has been staying with Family Promise and are hoping to get their house cleaned up so they can return, but finances are tight.

She adds that her son has had so many mixed emotions of his life. "He turned 16 in August 2012 but he never thought he'd live that long, he had accepted death and welcomed it, he's always wanted to be a soldier like his dad and play football but he can't do either and he's always felt that he's been a burden financially and physically since he wasn't able to do much activity, that we'd be better off without him. Now that the house is in the condition it's in, it really has made things mentally hard for all of us; but we're very grateful for Paul's gift of a new life and for all that we've been blessed with."

Paul will continue to have his follow up care in Seattle, with appointments every other month and a heart catheterization with biopsy at least once a year. Nagle says some of his medications aren't covered by his insurance, but they are looking into help from different pharmaceutical companies.

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