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Heart Transplant Patient ‘Baby James’ Dies

September 2, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A child known as Baby James, implanted with the heart of a brain-dead infant in one of a series of pioneering operations, died after his body rejected the heart and no other donor could be found, a hospital announced.

The 1 1/2 -year-old boy’s death was revealed Monday by Loma Linda University Medical Center, where the operation was performed April 26. The boy died about 9 p.m. Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Anita Rockwell said.

Ms. Rockwell identified the child, whose real name was heretofore kept secret, as Nicholas Lawrence Miller, who was adopted by Thomas and Jayne Miller of Redwood City immediately after his birth Feb. 15, 1985.

The boy, who had been admitted to the hospital Saturday, died ″during an acute, severe rejection episode,″ Ms. Rockwell said.

″A search for a replacement donor heart was initiated early Sunday afternoon ... but none was available,″ she said.

The boy was the third of six infants to receive baby-to-baby heart transplants performed by Dr. Leonard Bailey, the surgeon who stirred medical controversy in 1984 when he implanted a baboon’s heart in the newborn known as Baby Fae. She died three weeks days later.

The Miller child was the second of Bailey’s six baby-to-baby transplant patients to die. The four other patients are all doing well, Ms. Rockwell said.

Before the first of the six transplants last November, only two infant-to- infant heart transplants ever had been performed, one in 1967 and one in 1984. Both babies died.

The Millers issued a statement thanking Bailey, ″who cared so compassionatel y for Nicholas,″ as well as the hospital and the family of the baby whose donated heart kept their child alive for four months.

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