A Second Chance at Life

As their baby, Parson Blue, struggled to breathe, her parents knew something was wrong. They never dreamed she would need a lung transplant to save her life.

“What they gave us is life. There aren’t words to say thank you for that.” -- Parson’s mom, Jennifer

Parson Blue Herrington had to fight for every breath from the day she was born. At first, her doctors in Lufkin were confident that she’d be okay, that her breathing problems were a temporary complication. But everything was not okay with Parson. She continued struggling to breathe. Her parents, Jennifer and Rodney, knew something wasn’t right, but they didn’t get any real answers until Parson’s first respiratory crisis sent them to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Weeks of testing followed, and that’s when they finally learned that Parson has a rare genetic condition that affected the development of her lungs. One was overinflated like a balloon in danger of popping; the other had limited function.

Parson would need a lung transplant. The only question was how soon? Jennifer felt like a bomb had gone off. Yet that shock was nothing like the terror she experienced a few months later when, back at home, seven-month-old Parson had another crisis -- this one even worse than the first.

By the time they got her to their local hospital, Parson’s arms and legs had turned blue.

“She lay limp in my arms, fighting for every breath ... I wasn’t really sure she was going to make it. I pleaded for her next breath,” remembers Jennifer. Once Parson was stabilized, Texas Children’s patient transport specialists, the Kangaroo Crew, arrived to rush her again -- this time by air ambulance -- to Houston and our doctors.

Luckily, little Parson is a true fighter. She fought for her life on that pre-dawn flight. And she just kept fighting. But thankfully, she didn’t have to do it alone. She had a whole team at Texas Children’s fighting right along beside her and her parents.

It’s hard to imagine anything more agonizing, more utterly terrifying, than watching as your child struggles to breathe. And it’s even harder to imagine what Parson herself endured. There were tubes and needles and wires, poking and prodding, a ventilator and, eventually, a tracheostomy and a feeding tube.

Parson needed the lung transplant as soon as possible -- and then the waiting began.

Parson’s parents’ hopes were raised and then dashed as opportunities for lungs fell through because of one medical complication or another. At one point, it dawned on Jennifer that they might run out of medicines and treatments before Parson got her new lungs. But Parson’s doctors were there to reassure her.

Jennifer and Rodney marveled at the care she -- and their whole family -- received. Jennifer recalled how Dr. George Mallory, Parson’s beloved lung transplant physician, would sit for hours at her bedside, adjusting her ventilator so she could breathe easier.

And then, it finally happened. Just a month before her first birthday, Parson received her new lungs -- and with them, a second chance at life.

Parson is so full of life today that it’s easy to forget that it took all the fight she had and the extraordinary capabilities of Texas Children’s Hospital to save her life.

She had a lot of challenges to overcome, but today Parson is unstoppable!

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