Mother hears dead son's heart beating inside chest of donor recipient
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Emma Salgado was born Aug. 14, 2014. That same day, doctors detected a heart murmur. Emma needed a new heart.
After some time in the hospital and a couple months on the transplant waiting list, Emma’s parents got the news they needed.
“The doctor came rushing into our room and he said, 'We got the call,'" said Gemma Salgado, Emma’s mother.
A new heart was on the way. Emma’s surgery was scheduled for the next day.
Unfortunately, that new heart came at the expense of someone losing their life.
The new heart was coming from Arizona, where 14-month-old Carter Lott had drowned. The young boy was in a coma from which doctors said he wouldn’t wake up.
When she got the news that her son would never wake up, Kristi Lott made a choice. She made her son a donor.
“It was extremely difficult but, you know," she said. "The fact is, I wanted him to help someone else.”
Friday, Kristi got to meet Emma and Gemma for the first time, more than two years after her son's passing.
Gemma was grateful for the opportunity.
“Because of her, I get to hug my daughter every day. I get to see her grow up and be a healthy child,” said Gemma. “None of that would’ve been possible without her.”
The meeting peaked when after seeing photos of Carter, the boy who gave Emma his heart, the young girl walked over to Kristi and pointed to her own chest.
“Can you listen?” the toddler asked.
Kristi put her ear to the girl’s chest and listened to her dead son’s heartbeat inside the young girl whose life he saved.
It was an overwhelming moment.
“It’s something I never thought I’d get to be able to hear again, and so I’m extremely grateful,” said Kristi.
The two families are now encouraging others to become donors, so sad events like Carter’s death can save lives like Emma’s.