Monday, August 13, 2007

Thinking of Martin Harnett

Some of you may recall that at the FRIDA/ADAPT/NDY protest last January, we were accompanied by 11 year old Martin Harnett and his mom Donna. Martin has severe disabilities and but for his family circumstances, could very easily have been another Ashley X. His photo at the action was printed in papers across the US. Martin's family actually created a website called "Martin's Treatment," as an antidote to the Ashley site that called for more "Treatments" to be visited upon kids with disabilities. See This family has a lot of guts and we really appreciate them.

This past weekend, Martin, his folks, his brothers and their dog were enjoying a picnic in a forest preserve when Martin's trach managed to rub a hole through his airway and into one of the three main arteries right above his heart that leads to his head. He essentially began bleeding to death. However, through the quick actions of his parents and a local emergency room, he was saved. He is now recovering and his family really could use some messages of support. Donna says:

"Dr. Mark Gerber is a hero. He called the helicopter transport team at Children’s’ in Chicago, convinced St. Catherine’s hospital to send him to Chicago instead of Milwaukee where they wanted to send him because it was closer, and he assembled a team of 20 in the OR which included one of the best cardiovascular surgeons in the country all within about an hour. They cracked open Martin’s chest, located the hole in his artery and airway, and put him back together again. He needs everyone’s prayers now. He had 7 units of blood, his aorta has an infection, he has a tube draining out the blood from his chest, he is swollen from receiving so much blood and on a respirator. But as far as the surgeon and the PICU staff are concerned he looks really good right now considering what he has been through.

We consider everything about this a miracle. We were told that 95% of the time this happens the child bleeds to death. If not immediately, it usually happens while everyone is trying to figure out what is going on while in the ER. We were blessed in how everything worked out but he has a lot of healing to do.

We have been informed that Martin runs the risk of the infection taking hold, a stroke, a hemorrhage, and many, many other issues. Please pray for us. Please send us love, light and blessings both for Martin to heal and have strength. Martin is fighting for his life and wants to be here, otherwise he would have died last night.

Please also pray for all of us that witnessed a very traumatic event that has affected us all."

Donna, Jeff, Nolan, William and Connor
You can e-mail them at

Thank you all.