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Woman gets her second heart transplant as IU Health celebrates 600 transplants

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Leah Smith is optimistic and excited just a week and a half after getting a heart transplant at IU Health Methodist Hospital but this isn’t where the Fort Wayne resident’s story starts or finishes. Her doctor has once again helped her get a new heart.

Two weeks ago, her heart was failing fast.

“I was not doing well,” said Leah,  “and God knew I was at my limit and he provided a heart for me.”

“It’s just nice to see her be well because she was sicker than she realized,” said Dr. John Brown, Leah’s cardiothoracic surgeon.

Dr. Brown performed Leah’s first heart transplant 11 days after she was born with a very complex congenial heart syndrome. Since her first transplant as a child, she’s led a very active life which includes figure skating competitions and just graduating from Huntington University.

In December, she found out her heart was failing again just months before graduation. In February, she had a heart attack.  Team Leah started praying for a miracle: a second heart.

When her family found out Dr. Brown would be participating in this second transplant too, it was even more special.

Leah’s Dad said,  “It’s good to have continuity sometimes,” said Creager Smith, Leah’s father. “He’s definitely part of the family.”

Leah is focused now on walking everyday and re-gaining her strength so she can tackle the next chapter in her life.

She will be forever thankful for the miracles that made this happen, the doctor who walked this journey with her for 22 years and the support of friends and family.

“God is a God of miracles and there’s nothing else to explain what’s happened and it means so much – the prayer and support from Team Leah.”

Leah’s transplant was the 600th heart transplant IU Health has performed.