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'Christmas miracle' mum needs triple transplant to live

Belinda Dunstan is weighing up whether the risks of a triple transplant are too high.
Belinda Dunstan is weighing up whether the risks of a triple transplant are too high.

IN 1999 The Chronicle reported on Belinda Dunstan as the miracle mum who gave birth against all odds.

Having been diagnosed with single ventricle heart disease at birth, doctors told her the chances of surviving labour were slim.

But on December 15 1999, her daughter Jessica was born.

Belinda Dunston (right) and the doctor who has treated her since birth Dr Radford.
Belinda Dunston (right) and the doctor who has treated her since birth Dr Radford.

18 years later, she has an even bigger challenge ahead of her.

As a result of her condition, Ms Dunstan needs a triple transplant to replace her heart, lungs and liver that have been ravished by the disease.

Having controlled the condition with medication over the years, Ms Dunstan said she now had incomplete heart failure which had "destroyed" her liver and put pressure on her lungs that had warranted them unusable if they were to be transplanted into someone else.

"It's been put to me that there is triple the danger of me not coming out of the operation, triple the danger of my body rejecting the organs and triple the danger of the risks of side-effects," she said.

"And even then there is no guarantee."

It's a decision that she is not taking lightly.

The risks are high but the prognosis of avoiding the mammoth procedure are even more dire.

"I haven't always been certain of the surgery after all the years in hospital and seeing people have it not coming out," Ms Dunstan said.

"It's scary at the end of the day. The potential (of not having surgery) is that the inevitable will happen and I will pass away."

Ms Dunstan is urging members of the Toowoomba community to sign up and become an organ donor, something she believes saves lives.

Topics:  editors picks health heart disease hospital miracle mum news toowoomba transplant


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