Kansas newborn awaits transplant after heart infection

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Two days after Kasen Clark was born on July 21, his parents, Lindsay and Jeff, took their new, 5-pound-14-ounce son to their Arkansas City home.

The couple, who also have a 17-month-old daughter, began adjusting again to having a new baby in the house -- late-night feedings, more diaper changings and loving lullabies. But less than a week after going home, Lindsay says something wasn't right. 

Kasen was lethargic and had no interest in feeding. 

The Clarks rushed their son to the South Central Kansas Medical Center. From there, he was flown to Wesley Medical Center and finally to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. 

Soon after arriving in KC, Kasen went into cardiac arrest. Lindsay says hospital staff performed CPR for 45 minutes while hooking him up to an ECMO machine to pump and oxygenate his blood. 

That's where Kasen is today -- now four weeks old and fighting for his life. Dr. Brian Birnbaun said Kasen is now a candidate for heart transplant

 and awaiting a heart transplant. 

"We are currently waiting for him to get a Berlin heart until he can have a donor heart," Lindsay said on a GoFundMe page. "He is fighting hard and not giving up."

Staff at Children's Mercy told the Clarks their son had damage to his heart muscle which caused his heart muscle to die. He was diagnosed with enteroviral myocarditis.

Lindsay says doctors first suspected Kasen had a problem with one of his coronary arteries, before they were aware of the virus.

Lindsay says the virus attacked Kasen's heart muscle, causing the heart muscle to die.

While the Clarks wait painfully for answers and a glimmer of hope, they say Kasen is yawning, able to move his arms and legs, and even smiles at his parents.

"He's very ticklish on his toes."

Click here to donate to the family. 


For parents concerned about enterovirus, ABC News shares what you need to know to keep your child healthy:

What are the symptoms?

There are hundreds of respiratory viruses, so it is difficult to know when a child develops symptoms whether or not it is Enterovirus D68. The CDC advises parents to focus on severity of symptoms rather than whether a child has a particular virus.

Notably, Enterovirus D68 usually presents without a fever. The most common symptoms are a persistent cough and runny nose. Parents should seek medical attention if their child starts wheezing or has trouble breathing, especially if they have a history of asthma or other respiratory problems.

Rare symptoms might include weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs or facial muscles, though health authorities have not established a definitive link between these warning signs and the virus. Any child with these symptoms should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

How can I prevent my child from getting the virus?

Hand washing is the first line of defense against any illness, according to the CDC. Children should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.

But Dr. Daniel Feikin, the epidemiology branch chief in the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC said there is really no way to contain this or any respiratory virus.

“There is no vaccine. There is not really a lot you can do to prevent circulation,” Feikin said. “You can try to prevent at an individual level, but you cannot really stop it at a population level.”

How does it spread?

Enterovirus is a respiratory illness spread by saliva and mucus. When someone infected by the virus coughs, sneezes or touches a surface, they leave their germs behind, Feikin said.

This is why regular hand washing –- and frequently wiping down surfaces with soap or bleach disinfectants –- may help keep the illness from spreading quickly.

How worried should parents be?

“It is scary when you hear about something like this,” said Feikin of the virus and neurological symptoms. “At this point there are no recommendations to not go about your daily business, similar to the way you would if it is the flu.”

Dr. Richard Besser added that most children don’t need to be tested for enterovirus infection.

“Even if they are positive, the treatment will be the same as for a cold,” he said.

  • SportsMore>>

  • 1st & 10: East Aces

    1st & 10: East Aces

    The East High Aces saw a lot of improvement last season despite their 2-7 record. Their numbers this fall aren't as high as they were hoping but they still have plenty of speed. 

    The East High Aces saw a lot of improvement last season despite their 2-7 record. Their numbers this fall aren't as high as they were hoping but they still have plenty of speed. 

  • Duffy, KC bullpen hold Rockies to 2 hits; Royals win 3-2

    Duffy, KC bullpen hold Rockies to 2 hits; Royals win 3-2

    Danny Duffy and four relievers combined on a two-hitter, helping the Kansas City Royals hold off the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night.

    Danny Duffy and four relievers combined on a two-hitter, helping the Kansas City Royals hold off the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night.

  • Boston bound: Cavs trade Irving to Celtics for Thomas, more

    Boston bound: Cavs trade Irving to Celtics for Thomas, more

    The Cleveland Cavaliers granted Kyrie Irving's request and traded the All-Star guard to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night for star guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers granted Kyrie Irving's request and traded the All-Star guard to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night for star guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • 4 hurt in shooting at Wichita mobile home park

      Police say four people were injured in a shooting at a mobile home park in south Wichita, the second shooting in two hours. 

    • Thank-you letter to Salina stepdad goes viral

      In the first sentence of a letter Katelyn Miller wrote to her stepfather, she wonders what he might have been doing on the day she was born.

    • Uncounted Kansas ballots fuel fears about Kobach's proposals

      Kansas' 13,717 rejected ballots tops Florida, which has about seven times as many residents.

    • Signs of eye damage following eclipse

      The hottest items on Monday, August 21, 2017, were special glasses that allowed people to view the solar eclipse across the continental United States without damaging their eyes.

    • Kansas man watches eclipse minutes before surgery

      A Kansas man witnessed the solar eclipse – as he’s being wheeled into the operating room. 

    • Wichita call center to add 150 jobs

      A call center with a facility in Wichita wants to expand.  

    • IED scare shuts down Kansas highway

      The Wichita Police Departments bomb squad shut down this stretch of K-15, as a safety precaution between North Newton and Abilene. The reason-- two homemade bombs found inside a car.  "When he opened the glove box he sees two cylindrical objects that he believes are IED's," said Randy Jordan, North Newton Police Chief.  North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan was called to the scene after one of his officers pulled over Stewart Irsik on a routine traffic stop, but...

    • Man seriously hurt in southeast Wichita shooting

      Officers were called at around 9 p.m. Monday to a drive-by shooting near Wilma and George Washington Boulevard.

    • 2 inmates who escaped in Oklahoma may be armed

      Sheriff Steve Randolph says inmates Andrew Foy and Darren Walp overpowered two transport officers about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and took the van on U.S. 412 north of Fairview.

    • Jet's arrival on flatbed trailer a boost for WSU's NIAR

      A F-35 B plane arrives to WSU's NIAR facility north of Wichita to be torn apart and examined for cracks and any other structural flaws from its testing.  It represents a step forward for NIAR.