Ann Miller
ACH Media Relations
(727) 767-8592

News Release

Paula Perry
HKI Community Relations
(813) 225-1105 ext. 1139
(813) 210-4213 cell

All Children’s Hospital Celebrates 100th Heart Transplant
Four-Year Old Recipient Now Needs a “Forever Family”

April 7, 2008 (St. Petersburg, FL) As All Children’s 100th heart transplant recipient, four-year old Anthony has already overcome long odds to get his life-saving surgery. Now he needs a permanent home.

Anthony was born with a serious heart defect that required two open-heart surgeries in the first two years of his life.  His deteriorating status led to a heart transplant, which was performed at All Children’s Hospital on March 2nd.  Anthony has been recovering at the hospital ever since.

Anthony’s March 2nd surgery was the 100th heart transplant performed at All Children’s Hospital.  The program’s first heart transplant took place on June 19, 1995. That recipient, Hunter Ratcliffe of Winter Haven, FL, is now a healthy 12-year old who still visits All Children’s transplant clinic for check-ups three times a year. Patients as young as five days old have received heart transplants at All Children’s Hospital.  Of the 100 patients transplanted, 72 have survived to date.

“We are proud to have helped children like Anthony through our heart

transplant program, “ noted All Children’s President & CEO Gary Carnes. “All Children’s Hospital is the only Florida facility with the highly specialized care and facilities required to perform these life-saving procedures on patients as small as newborns. In this time of increasing financial pressure from projected state and federal budget cuts, Anthony’s story reminds us of the need to safeguard those that provide care for the most fragile among us.”

Anthony’s medical future is looking much brighter with his new, healthy heart. But the four-year old still needs a permanent home. Currently in medical foster care, Anthony will be eligible for adoption once his medical condition stabilizes.

Jeff Rainey, President/CEO Hillsborough Kids, Inc. states, “We are grateful to the surgeons, doctors and staff of All Children’s Hospital for providing Anthony with a new chance at life.  We are immensely thankful to Anthony’s foster parents for providing the love and support Anthony needs. We look forward to his complete recovery at which time he will be available for adoption.”  

Anthony’s foster parents, Melody and Ben Rodriguez, are looking forward to getting back into a routine for his care at their Tampa home. For the time being, that will include twice-weekly trips to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for continued monitoring of Anthony’s progress. They hope that Anthony will be medically ready for a “forever family” within six months.

Hillsborough Kids, Inc. currently has more than 600 children in its System of Care available for adoption. Families interested in details about adoption or becoming a foster parent should contact Hillsborough Kids, Inc. at  (813) 643-KIDS.


About All Children’s Hospital

All Children's Hospital is the only freestanding children’s hospital on Florida’s West Coast and a leader in pediatric treatment, education, research and advocacy.  It has consistently ranked among America’s top 25 children’s hospitals in comparative studies done by Child Magazine, which rated All Children's Hospital as the best in Florida in 2007. The mission of this private, not-for-profit hospital is rooted in its beginnings as Florida’s first Crippled Children’s Hospital for polio victims. All Children’s understands that it’s not enough to treat disease -- that true progress comes from teaching and research to cure disease. All Children’s shares its pediatric expertise through research & education affiliations with the University of South Florida (USF Health) as well as the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

As a regional referral center for children with some of the most challenging medical problems, All Children’s draws patients from throughout Florida, all 50 states and 36 foreign countries. Growing regional demand is such that construction is now underway on a new hospital and outpatient center to replace the current 40-year old facility. When completed in 2009, it will represent nearly a million square feet of space dedicated to state-of-the-art pediatric healthcare.


About Hillsborough Kids, Inc. (HKI)

Hillsborough Kids, Inc. assists nearly 4,000 abused and neglected children. As the lead agency in Hillsborough County’s Community-Based Care project, HKI works with a skilled network of local agencies that provide services to these children and their families. Services include prevention, diversion, family preservation, independent living, foster care, adoption services, case management and crisis intervention. We’re committed to continually improving our system of care and to finding the best methods to serve the interests of our children and their families. We strive to achieve services and outcomes that will:

  • Promote the safety and well-being of children
  • Preserve and safely reunify families when possible.
  • Promote adoption for children when reunification is not an option.
  • Enhance the state’s capacity to become more accountable for both child safety and permanency.
Promote and support innovative approaches to achieve the goals of safety, permanency and well-being for Hillsborough County’s children through expanded and intensive services.