ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford family is living through their worst nightmare after their 21-year-old daughter suffered a heart attack and spent over a month in the hospital.
On May 25th, Malorie Berge was admitted to the hospital after she was not feeling well.
Doctors discovered she had suffered a heart attack.
“They couldn’t believe she was having a heart attack, so they kept running EKGs (electrocardiograms),” said he step mother, Karissa Berge. “After the fifth one, they decided she was definitely having a heart attack.”
“A blood clot basically destroyed her heart,” said her father, Douglas Berge. “From that moment on, they’ve been trying to fix her heart. And now, we’re to the point where it cannot be fixed and we have to go to other measures.”
Malorie has now spent more than a month receiving treatment in a hospital in Peoria.
OSF Cardiologist Dr. Paul Christensen, who is not providing care for Malorie, says in his 40+ years of experience, he’s only treated a few dozen cardiac patients under the age of 30.
“Heart attacks in young people are pretty rare for starters especially for healthy people with no history of congenital heart disease or other risk factors,” he said.
The Berges said their biggest hope now is that Malorie can get healthy enough to survive transplant surgery.
“We’re trying to get her lungs to the point where her body will accept the new heart,” Douglas said. “Whether it’s sitting up right, standing – which is amazing, after all the stuff she’s had happen – she smiles the biggest smile when she stands up. So, she’s proud of herself, too. I mean, she’s fighting so hard.”
The Berges have taken leave from their jobs to be by Malorie’s side in Peoria. The family currently has a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the transplant.