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Newborn survives rare heart transplant surgery

Baby Oliver may be the youngest heart transplant recipient ever
Six-day old newborn survives rare heart surgery 03:27

Phoenix Children's Hospital has an amazing survival story. A baby born seven weeks premature with a bad heart had doctors fearing the worst, but instead at just six days old baby Oliver may be the youngest heart transplant recipient ever, CBS News' Carter Evans reports from Phoenix.

Caylyn Otto always dreamed of tender moments with her son Oliver, but the nightmare began during a routine ultrasound. Oliver had a major heart defect. It was weak and abnormally large.

"We were crushed, scared," Otto said about seeing the scan and receiving the diagnosis.

The baby's parents were told there was little hope. Their son would likely be stillborn.

"Terrifying," Otto said. "I shook my stomach every day and poked around trying to get a movement."

Otto's water broke at 33 weeks, seven weeks premature.

"I thought that was it. I woke up screaming, screaming," Otto said. "I just kept saying, 'This is it. I just lost him.'"

Otto was rushed to the hospital, and when she delivered nurses inserted a breathing tube.

"He came out blue," Otto said. "I just kept saying, 'Why isn't he crying? Why isn't he crying?'"

After a few seconds with his dad and a kiss from his mom, doctors took baby Oliver away. But then, something incredible happened. Oliver responded and kept fighting. He was placed on a transplant list for a new heart. Oliver's chances of survival without a heart transplant were very close to zero.

Dr. Daniel Velez said it almost never happens this way. Not only was a donor heart found almost immediately, but it was a perfect match. At six days old, still six weeks premature, Oliver got a second chance.

"It's just an amazing sight to give a family basically a normal baby," Velez said. "They have a normal baby. They had no chance, no shot before that."

"To go from, 'you're gonna lose him, you're gonna have a stillbirth,' to, 'Here, hold your son, here, give your son a kiss, and we're gonna take him and make him better,' it was just whoa," Oliver's father Chris Crawford said.

Oliver is now two months old. His parents are grateful and reflective.

"I would always say, 'Why? Why our baby?' and Chris just looked at me and said, 'Would you rather it be someone else's?'" Otto said. "I said, 'Absolutely not. I would never want anyone to go through this pain that we've had to deal with,' and he has just surpassed everyone's expectations. He has done phenomenal."

There were so many obstacles, and baby Oliver has beaten them all.

"I look at him and just say, 'You're my hero,'" Crawford said.

Oliver and his family have even more good news. He could be leaving the hospital and going home as early as Monday.

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