A student has undergone a heart transplant
after doctors allegedly dismissed her symptoms as exam stress.
Charlotte Carney from Cheshire in England suffered
from severe fatigue and needed constant
naps – but claims doctors suggested her symptoms were linked to stress.
"But as the years passed my health
continued to decline and I struggled to stay awake for longer than a few hours.”
After undergoing numerous tests, the
22-year-old was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition and was placed on the
organ transplant list in February.
"I thought I was just really lazy and
loved sleep but after tests on my heart I was finally diagnosed.
"I had an ECG test to check my heart's
rhythm through the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – and was referred
to a cardiologist.
"It was after these tests that I was
told I had restrictive cardiomyopathy which meant my heart didn’t fill with blood properly.
"No one had any idea that I had a heart
condition but we knew it was serious as I was getting worse.
"Medication didn't help and just three
months after my diagnosis I was placed on the waiting list for a new heart,”
Three weeks later Charlotte received the
lifesaving call she desperately needed.
"I knew my time was running out and if I
didn't have a new organ quickly I was risking being too unwell for the
"I couldn't believe it when three weeks
later I got the call.
"The nurse started asking about the
weather at first and then she said, 'I think you know why I'm calling.'
"It was surreal and although I was
nervous I knew I had no other choice if I wanted to survive.
"I was so thankful when I woke up but I
thought about the donor’s family straight away,” the young woman said.
She spent six days in a coma but after four
weeks in hospital she was finally
"For the first time in my life I had
warm feet. They’d always been cold before.
"My family and friends said I looked
really pink too as I'd always been so pale before the surgery.
"I don't need several naps every day now
and finally have my independence back.
"I’ve just started back for my final
year at university to study forensic psychology and criminal justice.
"I can't thank the family of the heart
donor enough and I do hope to one day meet them if they want to,” Charlotte
The young woman is now sharing her story to
help others realise the importance of
being an organ donor.
She was given just a 20% chance of surviving
the next two years without having a transplant.
"My quality of life was so poor earlier
this year that I don't think I would’ve lasted another two years,” Charlotte
"I would only be able to stay awake from
11am until 2pm and even walking a few steps would leave me breathless.
"People need to talk to their families
about [organ donation] too so everyone knows what they want.
"The amount of people on the waiting
list is endless. I'm just very grateful I was one of the lucky ones who didn't
have to wait years for their call.”
Source: Magazine Features