Kansas City, MO - Little Jack Palmer was not expected to survive. But on his first birthday, parents Tiffany and Chuck Palmer are celebrating the son they call their miracle baby.
Recently, the family joined E.J. & Ellen in studio during Kansas City's Morning News.
About halfway through Tiffany Palmer's pregnancy, they learned Jack had a serious heart defect and his lungs were severely damaged.
Babies with his condition typically live only a few days.
The doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital had other plans. They believed Jack had a chance. A few months ago, Jack became the youngest patient ever to receive a successful heart-lung transplant.
Tiffany stayed in St. Louis with the baby while Chuck commuted. Around Labor Day, they learned their little boy was well enough to go home to Kansas City.
"A year later, he's thriving, he's growing," Tiffany said, her voice cracking. "It's just amazing."
Jack, who continues to receive oxygen, now weighs about 22 pounds, which is normal for babies his age. The home is outfitted with hand sanitizer in several spots. Guests are asked to remove their shoes and wear surgical masks if they are ill. The Palmers' older children, a boy and a girl, help keep the home as sanitary as possible.
The Palmers could not say enough positive things about the staff at St. Louis Children's, who they say have become like members of their family. The family of the baby whose death made the transplant possible is never far from their thoughts.