Local News

Autopsy From Teen Transplant Patient's Death Will Not Be Available For Weeks

Posted February 24, 2003 5:53 a.m. EST

— Officials now say the results of an autopsy on Jesica Santillan's body will not be available for several weeks.

The autopsy results were supposed to be released Monday, but officials say it may be up to two months before those results are completed.

Attorneys for the Santillan family also said it will take weeks before they ultimately decide whether to pursue legal action against Duke University Hospital.

Jesica's original heart had a deformity that kept her lungs from getting oxygen into her blood. Doctors at Duke University Hospital have said they did not check for blood compatibility before her first heart-lung transplant Feb. 7.

She received a second set of organs on Thursday, but although they performed well, her brain had swelled and was bleeding. She later died on Saturday.

The parents of Jesica Santillan are allegedly upset over how they are being portrayed in the media. Many have questioned the family's decision to not allow Jesica's organs to be used for another transplant.

Family attorney Kurt Dixon said a Duke staff member asked Magdalena Santillan, Jesica's mother, about donating her daughter's corneas for another procedure.

"When she was asked that question, she thought about it for a minute and did not respond. The Duke employee asking the question told Magladena that she would be back in about a half-hour and ask her again. According to Magladena, that Duke employee never came back," he said.

According to Dixon when Jesica died, the family was told her other organs could not be used for retransplantation.

Santillan's funeral will be held at the Norris Theatre at Louisburg College at 5 p.m. Wednesday. She will be buried in Mexico.