Family’s vigil for sick Joe

Joe Higgins, 18, suffers from cardio myopathy and is very ill - he is in desperate need of a heart transplant and wants to speak to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Joe Higgins, 18, suffers from cardio myopathy and is very ill - he is in desperate need of a heart transplant and wants to speak to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
1
Have your say

Doctors have told the family of a teenager who had a heart transplant one week ago he could remain unconscious for another four days.

Joe Higgins, 18, was rushed into theatre last Friday after a match was found for him to have the potentially life-saving operation.

The Gazette reported how he had been on the urgent donor list for around six weeks, having been diagnosed earlier this year with cardiomyopathy – a condition which sees the heart weaken as the muscle becomes enlarged.

The “miracle” match came on the same day the pupils at his former school, Baines High School in Poulton, celebrated ‘Joe’s Day’, wearing red clothes and sporting hearts to raise money for the unit where he is being treated, Wythenshawe Hospital.

Following the four-hour operation, he was initially described as ‘critical but stable’, but then had to be rushed back into the operating theatre.

His family have kept a bedside vigil, praying for his recovery while hundreds of friends and well-wishers have sent their love to the teen, of Linderbreck Lane, Poulton, via social networking sites.

His eldest sister Gaby, 24, posted: “He is likely to be unconscious for the next week or so, and is on quite a lot of support equipment.

“The doctors and medical staff are doing their absolute best.”

Joe, who was due to start work with Victrex plc, in Thornton, has amassed thousands of online followers in recent weeks as he charted his time in hospital on social media websites Instagram and Facebook, including creating a five-minute video, which has so far been viewed more than 50,000 times worldwide.

His sister, Chessie, 23, said: “The video went viral with over 50,000 views, the positive energy he received from this lifted him incredibly.

“I know his story touched a lot of people.”

And he has inspired dozens of people to register as organ donors too.

A spokesman for the NHS Organ Donor Register said: “We want as many people as possible to have the opportunity of a life-saving transplant.

“There are around 10,000 people in the UK in need of a transplant, and in order to save more lives, we need more people to have a conversation with their loved ones about organ donation and to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

“We remain very grateful to those who have agreed to donation and helped save so many lives.”

You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register online by going to the website at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, ringing 0300 123 23 23 or texting SAVE to 62323.