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Greta from Chicago

On a cold night in early January 2021, police sirens wailed through Chicago’s downtown as they escorted a medical transport unit to Lurie Children’s Hospital. That transport unit carried a heart for a little girl named Greta.


For the past 199 days, Greta had survived with the support of Berlin Heart’s EXCOR® Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device while she waited for a heart transplant. 

Just one month earlier, her big brother had asked Santa for a heart for his sister. Those sirens meant he was finally getting his wish.

According to her mother, Greta was so excited to say hello to the world that she was born a little more than 12 weeks early. 
During her first days in the hospital, she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects the heart. In September of 2019, she was stable enough to go home with her family for the first time. 

For 9 months, Greta watched the world through her big, bright eyes as she grew and absorbed the world around her. She was a happy baby who brought joy to every person she touched, especially her big brother, Liam. 

But by June 2020, her mother noticed that she wasn’t her usual cheerful self. She returned to the hospital by ambulance in heart failure.

After a week of unsuccessful medical treatment, it became clear that a heart transplant was Greta’s best chance for survival. With no immediate availability of a donor heart, her medical team quickly made the decision to implant the Berlin Heart to support her while waiting on the transplant list.

“It gave her a great quality of life while she waited,” said her mother, Jaime. “Greta loves to be social and explore. She’s very into details. She loves books and going on walks.”
With the Berlin Heart, Greta was able to enjoy her favorite things again. She did so well, her mother said, that they were often asked questions by other families with children with heart problems.

“This experience has been the hardest of our lives,” her mother said. “But it made me so happy to see her so well taken care of. I’ve learned so much! My advice to other parents in this difficult situation is to ask a lot of questions. If you don’t understand, ask again.”

Greta is recovering well after her transplant and now, after 225 days in the hospital, she is back home with a new heart.