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General: Major Films   no photo.
TitleHeart of a Child (1994) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityGeneral Heart condition Transplant
CountryUSA
Length90
GenreTrue story
Rating4
DirectorSandor Stern
CastAnn Jillian Terry O'Quinn Michele Greene Rip Torn
NotesOne mother aged 35/6 has a baby with a heart problem. The condition is diagnosed while the baby is still in the womb. The scene changes to another couple who are refusing to have tests on their baby still in the womb. But after a near accident in their car the mother has a scan which shows the baby has anencephaly (see note below). The baby will die within minutes of leaving the womb. The first couple discuss the possibility of a heart transplant immediately the baby is born. This has never been done before. And it means they will have to leave Vancouver for Lo Melinda (sic). Because if the baby has a transplant the hospital needs to monitor its progress. The second couple are ready to offer their child's organs for transplants but they find the doctors reluctant to accept. This is because of the controversy surrounding whether the donor is dead or not. The baby will be brain dead but will have a beating heart and be considered alive. But then they meet a doctor who says "The only choice we have is to lose one baby or lose two." The operation is successful. Paul Holc the child who got the heart transplant plays himself briefly at the end. And we learn that Karen Schouten the mother of the donor baby went on to have a perfectly healthy baby. There's a fair bit of padding here but the film does concentrate for the most part on the issues at hand and would provide material for discussion. Anencephaly is a fatal condition in which part of the back of the brain is missing.

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