boy recovering from pediatric heart transplant

Dylan Is All Heart

A long-awaited transplant and comforts of home made his year at Children’s a success.

Born with complex congenital heart disease that left him with only one functioning ventricle, Dylan Nettles required a heart procedure at just over a week old.

Open heart surgery would follow a year later. Then, at the age of 5, Dylan’s heart began to fail.

The only option left to save him was a heart transplant.

For one year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta became Dylan’s home while he awaited a new heart. During that time, he captured the hearts of everyone he met. In-hospital teachers hosted his kindergarten graduation, night-shift nurses organized his moonlit “wedding” to his favorite nurse, and visiting celebrities asked for his autograph. 

On Jan. 9, 2020, Dylan, the unofficial mayor of the Cardiac Stepdown Unit within Children’s Heart Center, finally received the gift he’d been waiting for. The heart transplant was a success. Today, Dylan is back at home, healthy and ready to take on his next challenge: first grade.

More than a hospital
For children like Dylan who are fighting life-threatening illnesses that require long-term care, the halls of Children’s can become more familiar than their own homes. And their team of care providers begin to feel like family. 

That’s why we strive each and every day to offer more than just the best medicine. We go out of our way to give our patients and their families the little things that provide comfort, joy and a hint of normalcy. 

As we look to the future, we know that we have more opportunities to make our environment even more welcoming and accommodating for families. Support from our community will allow us to make this vision for our not-for-profit hospital a reality. 

With the completion of a new, larger hospital campus and greater resources, we will be able to provide even more comforts of home, including a vast green space, family lounges and laundry facilities on every floor, and more child life programs.

Together, we can give patients like Dylan and his family a home away from home—and the most advanced pediatric care available.

boy graduating after receiving pediatric heart transplant

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