"Stephanie's Heart" tells the story of Teresa Beauclair and her daughter, Stephanie Fae, who touched the hearts of people around the world. Teresa chose to keep herself and her daughter anonymous amidst one of the biggest news stories of the 1980s.
Baby Fae and Baby Moses
In 1984, in a desperate attempt to save the life of a baby girl, Dr. Bailey performed the first cross-species infant heart transplant. Born three weeks early, Stephanie Fae (known as Baby Fae) was diagnosed with 100% lethal hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Dr. Bailey, having seen too many newborns succumb to this condition, was prepared. For years, he had been performing research through experimental transplantation in sheep, goats and baboons. By the time Baby Fae was born, he had performed over 200 of these procedures.
With no time and no other options, Dr. Bailey did what he knew he had to — what he knew could save this girl’s life. As media members and animal rights activists gathered outside the building, Bailey and the medical staff focused all their energy on the little girl. Baby Fae survived the transplant, which provided her a new, healthy and, against all odds, beating baboon heart.
Though the transplant gave her a little extra time, Baby Fae tragically passed away 21 days later. She became the longest-living recipient of a cross-species heart.
Baby Fae helped absolutely transform the landscape of pediatric heart transplants, generating unprecedented levels of public awareness. People everywhere learned of the pressing need for infant organ donation. In addition, an entire generation of students was inspired to follow in Dr. Bailey's footsteps and become pediatric surgeons.
The next year, in 1985, Dr. Bailey once again met a patient in need of a new heart. This time, though, a suitable donor heart was available. Using the lessons he learned with Baby Fae, Dr. Bailey performed the first successful human-to-human heart transplant on an infant. Little Eddie Anguiano (known as Baby Moses) not only survived, but continues to thrive to this day at 35 years old. Eddie is the longest-living recipient of an infant heart transplant — that same heart still beats in his chest.
Dr. Bailey’s pioneering infant heart transplants paved the way for innovations in the field that have saved lives everywhere. Since Baby Fae and Baby Moses, hundreds of infants have had successful heart transplants at Loma Linda University Children’s Health. Dr. Bailey's legacy continues through those he mentored and those he inspired.