The girl's chief benefactor said doctors told Jesica's family to prepare for a possible decision to remove her from life support. But a hospital spokesman said Jesica hadn't been declared brain dead and no tests were planned.
Mack Mahoney blamed the grim turn on Duke University Medical Center, saying image-conscious doctors hesitated to take the blame for the first, bungled operation and lost precious time in the hunt for a new set of organs.
"If she dies, they murdered her," said Mahoney, a North Carolina building contractor who started a charity in Jesica's name.
In her first transplant Feb. 7, the Mexican teenager was mistakenly given a heart and lungs from a donor with the wrong blood type. Her body rejected the organs, and she was on life support by the time a matching donor was found and a second transplant performed Thursday morning.
Though the new organs were performing well, tests early Friday showed Jesica's brain had swelled and was bleeding, said Dr. Karen Frush, the hospital's medical director of children's services. She said Jesica was also hooked up to dialysis machines
because of damage to her kidneys.
"Yesterday after the transplant, we were all very hopeful," Frush said. But now, "the swelling in her brain is severe, severe to the point we fear it's irreversible."
She said additional tests were planned for Friday to confirm the diagnosis.
As CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin reports, her parents, poor laborers from Guadalajara, Mexico, paid a smuggler to get them and their ailing daughter into the United States for help. They traveled from Mexico to Durham, North Carolina because they heard they could get the best medical care there.
Her story touched the heart of local businessman Mahoney who raised money to pay for her transplant.
After waiting three years for the new heart and lungs, the hospital's error was a crushing blow, but no one has been more vocal in his anger than Mahoney.
"They will not admit they waited ten days," says Mahoney.
As Kaledin reports, the first press release from the Hospital admitting an error was dated February 17, 10 days after the February 7 procedure.
Though the family was notified of the mistake immediately, Mahoney argues the hospitals delay cost valuable time in finding a second set of organs.
Transplant experts say it's unlikely earlier publicity would have had any bearing on Jesica's outcome. Surgeons would have had to wait at least several days before even attempting a re-transplant and even then, Jesica was in such grave condition the odds of her pulling through were never good.
Frush also said there was no sure way to tell when the brain damage occurred. But Mahoney said doctors told the family it was due to the time Jesica was connected to life support.
"Life support ruins kidneys, it ruins brains, it ruins all the organs of the body," he said. "What they done is played with that little girl's life, trying to make a decision on whether they was going to fess up. They were putting their bottom line before a little girl's life."
"I'm mad. I'm enraged. I'm horrified," Mahoney said. "It's a horrifying thing. You take your child to what you considered to be the best institution in the world for a particular kind of surgery and you get this."
Hospital chief executive Dr. William Fulkerson denied that the hospital had delayed
the search for new organs, and pointed out that the second set was found in a matter of days. The second transplant came 13 days after the first.
"I think we have been honest and forthcoming with Jesica's family about her medical care every step of the way and we have accepted the responsibility publicly," Fulkerson said.
Jesica had a heart deformity that kept her lungs from getting oxygen into her blood. Relatives have said her family paid a smuggler to bring them from their small town near Guadalajara to the United States so she could get medical care. She waited three years for organs to become available.
In the first operation, Dr. James Jaggers implanted organs from a donor https://www.titaniumframe.top/
with type A blood, rather than Jesica's O-positive, a mistake Duke officials said was not discovered until the surgery was almost over.
Fulkerson said Jaggers wrongly assumed compatibility had been confirmed when he was offered the organs, and later failed to double-check that assumption, a violation of the hospital's procedures.
The hospital has added additional levels of verification for organ compatibility, and Fulkerson said those new procedures were followed before Thursday's surgery.