Dell Children’s First Heart Transplant Patient Heads Home for the Holidays


The first heart transplant recipient at Dell Children’s Medical Center, part of Ascension, headed home for the holidays on December 23.  Gerardo was surprised with a car parade, Austin firefighters, Bevo, friends, superheroes, and his caregivers. The parade celebrates his remarkable journey and long-awaited discharge. Gerardo was admitted to Dell Children’s on August 1, and his heart transplant was performed on October 3. He’s spent a total of 144 days at Dell Children’s, and today we are grateful he’s strong and healthy and ready to head home.

Gerardo’s heart transplant was a life-saving option, as Gerardo was in end-stage heart failure and suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick.

“Today would not be possible without the dedicated transplant team of surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, transplant coordinators, perfusionists, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, therapists and psychologists working together with one goal, to save Gerardo’s life,” said Chris Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center, part of Ascension.

Dell Children’s heart transplant team is led by Dr. Carlos Mery, surgical director of the Heart Transplant Program, and Dr. Chesney Castleberry, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, and pediatric heart surgeons Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr., and Dr. Ziv Beckerman. Dell Children’s multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together highly skilled and experienced specialists including pediatric anesthesiologists, transplant coordinators, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, physical and occupational therapists, providing unparalleled care for patients.

The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s Medical Center, is in partnership with UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas in Austin.