Baby defies death; has double lung transplant

Luca Palmisano is a happy 9-month-old baby boy but it's a miracle that he is even here today.  Luca has already had a bilateral lung transplant.

His mom, Ashley Palmisano, says his heart has stopped two times since he was born.

Palmisano says all of her ultrasounds when she was pregnant came back normal and the baby was born in June at 7 pounds and 2 ounces.

But one hour after he was born, his mother, who is a registered nurse, noticed something was wrong.

"He started turning this dusty color.  He started having some respiratory distress," Palmisano says.  "He was swiftly taken to the nicu."

He was diagnosed with a rare disease called alveolar capillary dysplasia.  It can be fatal in less than 30 days.  The disease affects one out of 6 million babies.

"It was so devastating.  'Your son will die', they told me," Palmisano said.

But, another baby's death saved Luca.  Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia flew out to harvest the lungs and transplant them into Luca.  They had to leave his chest open for five days to let the new lungs settle into place.

He has a long road ahead, but Luca is home now and developing.

For information on how you can help the family cover some of the transplant costs visit: