Monday, November 14, 2011

This Day in History November 15, 1984

I remember this story, but I did not remember the name.  Anyone recognize this little one?  Anyone know who Baby Fae was? This was a scientific experiment that unfortunately did not go as well as we thought it might.  But momentous, just the same.

Stephanie Fae Beauclair (known as Baby Fae) was born on October 14, 1984 with a fatal heart defect.  She was born two weeks prematurely, and only hours after her birth, she was rushed to Lorna Linda University Medical Center.  Baby Fae's mother had the option of leaving her in the hospital to die or to take her home to die.  The doctors could do nothing.

Just about the time that Baby Fae would have died, the doctors amazingly replaced her heart with that of a baboon on October 26, 1984.  Animal right activists were upset (what??), and many doctors thought that a human heart should be used rather than an animal's heart. And other claimed that the doctors performed this surgery to capitalize on media sensationalism.

Against the odds, Baby Fae thrived for two weeks following the transplant.  There was much hope that all would be well.  Even though she survived longer than any other human had after receiving an animal heart, her body did begin to reject it.  As doctors increased the medication, kidney failure occurred.  And on this date in 1984, Baby Fae died after surviving 20 days.

Baby Fae's story has caused some wonderful advancements in scientific research and medicine.  In fact, Baby Moses received an infant heart transplant but a year after this incident, and he is the oldest living recipient of an infant heart transplant.  If my sources are correct, he is 24.  (And they appear to be.)

I remember this story because she was doing so well, and everyone had high hopes for her.  And then all of a sudden, she died.  But at least the parents had their little baby for longer than they would have.

If you would like additional information, check out these sites (one had a video of her story):


  1. I remember this story.

    Medical research has kept many of us alive.

    Have a blessed day!


  2. I sure do remember this story also!!!!


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