A 26-month-old Turkish baby has endured an excruciating 11-month wait in an İzmir hospital as she waits for a heart transplant, surviving only via an artificial heart that dwarfs her small size. Melek Özcan, who was born with cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease, underwent an operation to receive an artificial heart at İzmir’s Dokuz Eylül University (DEU) Hospital when she was 15 months old, but no suitable donor has yet been found, meaning the toddler has had to remain attached to the machine.
During her 11-month wait, she has seen her mother only once because she gave birth to a new baby last year in the eastern province of Diyarbakır and cannot come to the Aegean province due to financial problems. As such, the baby refers to her father and nurses as “father.”
The girl’s father, Muhsin Özcan, who is staying with his daughter in hospital, said he hoped people would display awareness about the issue of organ donation.
Speaking to Anatolia news agency, Özcan said it was not easy to take care of his daughter. “She wants to walk but she can’t since she is connected to this machine, which is 13 times as big as her.”