Youngest Recipient of Bioengineered Organ Dies
Hannah Warren had a windpipe implanted in April
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2013 8:20 AM CDT
Darryl Warren and Lee Young-mi visit daughter Hannah in a post-op room at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria after she received a new windpipe in a landmark transplant operation April 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Jim Carlson)

(Newser) – Hannah Warren, the youngest person ever to have had a bioengineered organ implanted, died Saturday, the New York Times reports. She was just two years old. Hannah was born without a trachea, and had a bioengineered windpipe implanted in April. Her esophagus was also involved in that surgery, and she had a second operation last month when it didn't heal correctly; complications from that operation ultimately killed her. "The trachea was never a problem," explains the surgeon. "It was her native tissue that was very fragile."

Stem cells from the toddler's bone marrow were attached to the plastic windpipe; they multiplied to create the trachea, the Telegram explains. The FDA approved the experimental surgery, which had been performed just five times previously and never in the US, because the little girl had small chance of surviving without it. "Hannah was a pioneer," says another surgeon. "At this point, we’re all just raw with pain." The longest person to have survived after a similar windpipe surgery has lived more than two and a half years post-surgery so far.

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Jul 9, 2013 2:21 PM CDT
I hope that they did not add to her suffering because of the surgery (thinking of baby Faye who was implanted with a baboon heart years ago, who should have been left to die in peace).
Jul 8, 2013 1:09 PM CDT
No sadder thing than the loss of a child. We are fortunate today that child mortality is far less than what it was a century ago. Let us pray for Hannah and her family. May God help us to help the children of the future to have a future.
Jul 8, 2013 11:05 AM CDT
Even our failures offer a lesson. One day, a child will live because of the efforts of these scientists. We'll get there.