By David F. Rooney
Tyler Smith, the young man who has spent the last year waiting for a heart transplant, successfully underwent surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Saturday but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods yet, medically speaking.
Family friend David Bennewith said the intricate operation lasted five and a half hours and Tyler’s new heart was “beating vigorously.”
“But we don’t want everyone to think this means he’s out of the woods,” Bennewith said. “He still has 30 to 40 days of recovery ahead of him at the hospital.”
Family members were ecstatic.
In an e-mail to friends and family, Tyler’s grandmother, Elaine Ralph, said:
“Marie just called in tears of joy! Surgeon just came out and told them all went very well. Heart is beating vigorously. They are just stitching Tyler up. Marie, Barry and Ryan will probably be able to see Ty in about an hour. Thank you God and Thank you dear donor and family.”
An update Elaine Ralph sent by e-mail on Sunday morning said:
“Just received a phone call from Ryan to say he and his Dad just visited with Tyler in ICU for a few minutes. Ryan say’s Tyler is awake and looks wonderful. His legs are pink! his feet are warm! and he doesn’t have purple knees anymore!
“He woke up himself at 7 am this morning! Breathing tube was still in his mouth so couldn’t talk but indicated to nurse for writing pad and pencil. Asked what time it was, nurse said 7, Tyler asked if night or morning! nurse said morning, Tyler said, ‘I slept a long time!’ Asked if breathing tube could be taken out which they did.
“One of the transplant doctors came in who said he is doing exceptionally well. The heart is an excellent match. There are no viruses and it fit very well in every way. They are very pleased with Tyler’s progress. Have orders in for other tubes to be removed this afternoon and he will likely be moved back to his own room tomorrow.
“Marie and Felicia are probably with Tyler now. Thank you all again for your prayers and support.”
If you’d like to help Tyler and his family there is an official Tyler Smith fund at the Revelstoke Credit Union. The fund has been set up to help pay Tyler’s expenses during the year he must live in Vancouver while undergoing evaluation and treatment at St. Paul’s. You can simply walk in to a member service representative and make a donation. Or mail a cheque payable to the Tyler Smith Fund to Revelstoke Credit Union at Box 989 Revelstoke, BC V0E2S0. This fund was set up to cover the many large expenses involved with Tyler’s care. It is controlled and administered by the trustees, Steven Hui and Bennewith.