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News and Events > 360° > Stephanie's Heart: The Story of Baby Fae

Stephanie's Heart: The Story of Baby Fae (Trailer)


http://www.llu.edu/news/360/2009/baby-fae.page

Twenty-five years ago, Teresa Beauclair, the mother of Baby Fae, chose to remain anonymous in the midst of one of the biggest news stories of the 1980s. Stephanie’s Heart is a documentary film that tells Teresa’s story and that of her baby daughter, Stephanie Fae.

For more information on Baby Fae visit: llu.edu/babyfae



The Story of Baby Fae

On October 14, 1984, Stephanie Fae was born two weeks premature in the rural desert community of Barstow, California. Hours later, she was rushed by ambulance to Loma Linda University Medical Center suffering from a condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome that, in 1984, was virtually 100 percent fatal. Teresa was given three options: She could leave Stephanie at Loma Linda and let her die; she could take her to Barstow Hospital and let her die there; or she could take her home to die.


Teresa chose to take Stephanie to a motel and eventually home, to love and care for her baby girl as she began the process of dying, Then, a fourth option presented itself. She received a phone call detailing an experimental procedure at Loma Linda University Medical Center that could mean that her baby might not have to die, at least not without some effort to save her. The highly experimental surgery meant replacing Stephanie’s heart with that of a primate. About the time that Stephanie would have died from her malformed heart, doctors at Loma Linda replaced it with the heart of a baboon.


What ensued was a media frenzy, backlash from the animal rights community, a revolution in infant heart transplantation, and a story that circled the globe many times over. The story that was never told was the story of a mother and her daughter. Stephanie’s Heart tells that story. It’s a story about one of the most powerful forces in the world--a mother’s love.

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