Superman Through the Ages! Forum

Superman Comic Books! => Superman! => Topic started by: TELLE on July 22, 2005, 11:20:53 PM

Title: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: TELLE on July 22, 2005, 11:20:53 PM
A real miracle baby!,1413,209~22484~2975523,00.html

Baby gets new heart

Staff Writer

LOMA LINDA After more than three months spent waiting for a lifesaving donor heart, the boy named after Superman has been given a second chance.
Kal-El Villatoro received a donor heart Tuesday morning.

"He is stable and he is progressing," said Kay Ogata, cardiac transplant coordinator at Loma Linda University Medical Center. "I am very optimistic."

He is sedated and quietly recovering and will likely be in the hospital for two weeks, she said.

"We will take it one day at a time," she said.

Kal-El was born May 22 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The structural heart deformity meant the boy would need a heart transplant to survive.

Following an ultrasound, his parents, Alba and Jose, were sent to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he has been since birth. Jose wanted to give the boy the birth name of the fictional character because he knew his son would have to be strong for the battle for his life that lay ahead.

He has been on the list waiting for a heart since April.

"We don't like to wait that long," said Ogata.

Monday afternoon, his parents finally heard the news they had been waiting for a donor heart was available for their son.

They rushed back to the hospital. A number of tests were performed before then transplant. It had been three weeks since the boy went into cardiac arrest.

"But he was holding his own," said Jose.

After waiting with friends and family during the more than four-hour surgery performed by Dr. Nahidh Hasaniya, a cardothoracic surgeon, Jose said they saw their son.

"It was overwhelming and exciting at the same time," he said. "We are excited and emotionally tired."

Details about the donor are kept confidential, but it is known that the other organs came from the same donor.

Jose said he didn't know if he will be get a chance to say thank you to the donor's family, but he said he and his family are grateful.

"It feels like he has a second chance," he said.

Already, he can see a difference in his son, noting he feels warmer and has his color back.

If all goes well, the boy is scheduled to be off of the ventilator and breathing on his own today or tomorrow.

Jose recalled holding his son's hand Tuesday, for the first time since the transplant.

"He was gripping my finger and that was the strongest grip he has ever had," he said. "He is my inspiration. Every day, I wake up for him."

E-mail Staff Writer C.L. Lopez at

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: TELLE on July 22, 2005, 11:27:52 PM
Another backgrounder (subscription only)

Tiny hearts
10:46 AM PDT on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
By MIKE SCHWARTZ / The Press-Enterprise

What could be more heartbreaking than a baby with a bad heart?

That's the plight of little Kal-El Sylvester Villatoro, attached to a breathing machine in the neonatal intensive care unit at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital.

Kal-El was born on March 22 at Loma Linda with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome, a fatal condition in which the left side of his heart is underdeveloped and unable to function.

Doctors and nurses already have had to revive him from cardiac arrest, and his tiny body grows weaker with each passing day. Registered since April 1 on a national organ donor transplant list, Kal-El may die within a few weeks unless a healthy infant heart can be found.

The baby is named after the infant Superman, whose own doting parents rocketed the future Clark Kent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton. Alba and Jose Villatoro figured the name Kal-El would fortify their son in his battle to survive.

"He's our strong little Superman," said Alba.

The couple relocated to Redlands from Las Vegas while Alba was pregnant after an ultrasound scan revealed the congenital heart defect. The move launched Kal-El -- like his fictional namesake -- on a lifesaving trek ... not across the galaxy but to Loma Linda, the world's pioneering mecca of infant heart transplantation.

There, in 1984, Dr. Leonard L. Bailey performed daring surgery on a newborn known as Baby Fae. Bailey replaced her failing heart with a baboon heart. Then, as now, few infant donors were available, said Bailey, Loma Linda's chairman of surgery.

Amid controversy, Baby Fae died 21 days later of organ failure. But Bailey and his team learned much, developing successful techniques for infant-to-infant heart transplantationand for allowing babies to live longer with their own ailing hearts.

"We save transplants for babies that don't seem to have a chance of survival with palliative surgery," Bailey said.

Since 1985 Loma Linda surgeons have performed 450 pediatric heart transplants including more than 100 on newborns

Out of about 40,000 infant deaths annually there may be 400 to 500 potential donors, estimated Bailey.

"Yet in this early infant age group, there are fewer than 75 donor hearts available per year nationwide," he said.

Why don't more families of potential donors come forward?

"This is a very hard decision for grief-stricken parents," said Kay Ogata, Loma Linda's cardiac transplant coordinator. "Whatever they decide is right. However, people who have donated find that something positive can come out of a horrible situation."

Alba and Jose hope for just such a Superman-size miracle.

Kal-El's parents urge anyone who wants to learn more about infant heart transplantation to call Loma Linda University Medical Center at (909) 558-4419.

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: Genis Vell on July 23, 2005, 11:22:25 AM
Did artist Jon Bogdanove named his son after Superman, didn't he?

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: RedSunOfKrypton on July 26, 2005, 03:37:01 PM
I think that's cool.

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: Captain Kal on July 26, 2005, 04:26:29 PM
That might be cool from our POV.

But I'm not so sure from the kid's POV.  Can you imagine growing up with Superman's name?  Wouldn't that make the kid a target for bullies?  I know Byrne touched on this in the MOS miniseries when he had to talk a mother out of naming her baby for him.

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: TELLE on July 26, 2005, 07:01:47 PM
"Kal" ain't so bad.  And don't forget, he can always keep it as a secret identity, and go by "Sylvester".

Title: Re: News: Baby named Kal-el
Post by: RedSunOfKrypton on July 27, 2005, 05:47:07 PM
Kal is alright, heh, maybe it'd be like the Secret Identity miniseries, about the real life Clark Kent that develops the powers.