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Duke University Hospital Creates Jesica Santillan Fund

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DURHAM, N.C. — The plight of Jesica Santillan will help other Hispanic families and children cope with medical emergencies in the future.

Duke University Hospital

announced a $4 million fund in honor of Santillan, who died at Duke in February 2003 after undergoing two heart-lung transplant operations.

"Jesica's sad outcome profoundly affected all of us at Duke, particularly her caregivers in children's services and on the pediatric intensive care unit," said Dr. Ralph Snyderman, president and CEO of Duke University Health System. "One of the ways we intend to honor her memory forever is to improve the organ transplantation process, not just at Duke Hospital but nationwide, and to be a leader in improving patient safety. Importantly, we also wanted to honor this brave young woman by creating a perpetual fund at Duke Hospital that would help Latino patients deal with the many cultural issues they face."

The money will be used to provide support services for Hispanics.

"It is especially appropriate that Duke Hospital create a significant fund that will help keep Jesica's memory alive forever. When I met with Ms. Santillan, she was pleased that Duke would create this fund to help other Latino children who seek services at our hospital," said Duke President Nan Keohane.

Santillan's case attracted national attention because she received incompatible organs in her first transplant as a result of procedural errors.


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