PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A little girl in need of a heart transplant was able to get one at at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.
Thanks to a team of investigative doctors, 3-year old Kate Zuno will be watching more episodes of Peppa Pig. Kate and her family talked about her life saving treatment Thursday.
"We noticed that she was getting sick," said Kate's mother Karen Vargas.
Vargas took her daughter into the doctor for what she thought was a stomach virus and came out with a life-threatening diagnosis.
"It's terrifying knowing that you can go into hospital and not know you can come out with your daughter," Karen Vargas said.
Kate's heart was failing and they couldn't figure out why. It was a medical mystery.
"We actually found a community in Canada that was reported to have a similar type of mutation that Kate has," said Dr. Beth Kaufman, a cardiologist.
A team of doctors at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Found that Kate has a rare genetic disorder that caused her heart to fail. Kate needed an emergency heart transplant. For four months she survived on life-support.
"We only had time a few weeks time where we can support her in that way," Kaufman said.
Finally, a family donated their deceased child's heart to Kate. Doctors still worried Kate's disease would continue ravaging the rest of her body. Instead, her new heart is helping fight the disease and she's doing better than ever.
"Thank you so much because didn't just save her life, but you saved my life. You saved my family's life," Kate Vargas said.
Doctors say there's still a shortage of organ donors, and a long list of sick kids like Kate.
3-year-old receives life-saving heart transplant from Stanford hospital