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By Dave Olson and Wendy Reuer, Forum staff writers , Published June 18 2013

Fargo boy smiles following double lung transplant

HOUSTON – Just hours after receiving a new set of lungs on Tuesday, 10-year-old Jordan Peterson smiled when a nurse told him the transplant operation had been a success.

“They (medical workers) were surprised at his response, given the amount of meds he is on,” said Dan Peterson, Jordan’s father, who kept family and friends updated on his son’s progress via postings on the CaringBridge website.

Peterson said his son was able to squeeze his finger not long after Tuesday morning’s operation at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The surgery went smoothly, according to Peterson, who said the lungs placed in his son’s chest were delivering oxygen and removing carbon dioxide soon after the procedure was completed.

On Tuesday night, Peterson told The Forum his son remained sedated but was doing “excellent.”

A number of hurdles remain, according to Peterson, who said his son would remain sedated and on a ventilator until after a 7 a.m. bronchoscopy today.

“The key thing will be to get him to breathe on his own without the ventilators. He’s been resting very peacefully,” Peterson said. “(Jordan’s) left lower lobe was not quite inflated; they think it will come up over time with the ventilator.”

Tubes were removing fluid from his son’s lungs and there is hope the tubes will become unnecessary as fluid subsides, Peterson said.

Peterson said the nerve that causes coughing when someone feels something in their lungs had to be cut on his son, meaning he will have to learn to cough on his own to clear his lungs.

On Tuesday night, medical staff members were pleased with Jordan’s vital signs and would be closely watching for any signs his body is rejecting the new lungs, Peterson said.

Peterson said his son had requested photos be taken of his old lungs and he said the boy will be the first to see the pictures when he is ready.

Jordan Peterson, who has cystic fibrosis, had been on a lung transplant list for more than eight months, his father said. The Peterson family temporarily relocated to Houston in October to be close to Texas Children’s Hospital, where the average wait for a set of lungs is four months.

This was Peterson’s fourth attempt at locating a possible donor after three other narrow misses.

Five other medical centers passed up using the lungs before Jordan was offered them on Monday, Peterson said.

If all continues to go well, Jordan will still have a long road back home, Peterson said.

“As he starts to feel better, then it’s a matter of physical therapy to rebuild his strength,” Peterson said. “That’s a three- to a three-and-a-half month process. Then we can start to think about coming home.”


Readers can reach Forum reporters Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555 and Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530