A Miracle Denied

A teenager's death after two sets of transplants raises questions of procedure and ethics

Jesica Santillan's story had all the makings of the American miracle. There were the immigrants: Jesica--the shy 17year-old battling a congenitally enlarged heart and failing lungs--and her poor, devout parents, who three years ago paid a coyote to smuggle Jesica and themselves into the U.S., where they hoped to find help for the dying girl. There was the wealthy philanthropist Mack Mahoney, who read of Jesica's plight in a North Carolina paper and made it his mission to get her a heart-and-lung transplant to try to save her life. Finally, there was the venerable institution where the story would unfold, Duke...

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