By Baruch Katz
My sister Rachel Katz was born with a congenital heart defect. One chamber of her heart did not fully develop. She had open heart surgery a few hours after birth to put in a shunt to allow her blood to circulate but with blue and red blood mixing. At one year old another shunt was put in to improve circulation. At two and a half she had an another open heart surgery that redirected the blood from her body directly to the lungs and then from her lungs the blood is pumped by the one working side of her heart to the rest of her body.
Now at 25, her heart has worn out and pressure is building up in her pulmonary artery. Her heart is not pumping efficiently and she has a build up of fluid. She is taking a strong mix of medications to keep it somewhat under control. The doctors are recommending not just a heart transplant, but a combination heart lung transplant. Right now her other organs such as her kidneys and liver are fine. Over time those organs will be affected, and then heart lung transplant will no longer be an option.
This is a rare operation compared to a heart transplant or a lung transplant. Transplant centers hesitate to perform it, especially for patients with a history of surgeries like Rachel, but we are contacting as many places as we can.
First, Rachel will be visiting the Mayo Clinic on Sept 8 and 9 to determine if they can perform the operation. Cleveland Clinic told us that the cost of an evaluation to determine if she is eligible is around $23,000, and the cost of the actual transplant is $775,000 if there are no complications. Anti-rejection medication will cost at least $3,000 a month for the rest of her life. Insurance will cover most of it but she still needs $6,900 up front just for the evaluation. Since she lives in Minneapolis, she also needs travel and accommodation expenses.
Rachel needs our prayers. Her Hebrew name is Rochel Leah bas Hinda Sara.
Upper Midwest Merkos, a 501(c) non-profit organization here in Minnesota, has set up a fund for Rachel to cover medical expenses, travel, and accommodations related to the transplant. All money raised will go directly to the Upper Midwest Merkos Rachel Katz Refuah Healing Fund.
You can see campaign updates at www.plumfund.com/heart
To receive a tax-deductible donation receipt, use this link to donate online: www.lubavitchhouse.org/heart
You can send checks to :
Upper Midwest Merkos Rachel Katz Refuah Healing Fund
400 Marie Ave West
West S Paul, MN 55118
You can send a contribution via PayPal to [email protected] Put “Rachel Katz Refuah Healing Fund” in the note.