Northview Academy teen recovering from heart transplant


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One 15-year-old and his family didn’t expect to spend their summer break in the hospital.

Zachary Webb is a student at Northview Academy and his mom, Michelle Fest, said he loves school, especially science.

“Zachary is cognitive skill delayed,”  said Fest. “He just loves going to Northview. He loves his teachers, he loves the principals.”

For his summer break, Zachary wanted to go on a fishing trip with his grandparents. However, that fishing trip quickly turned into a journey his family never expected to have to go on.

“He was staying sick a lot,” explained Fest. “We thought it was something to do with a medication change or a stomach virus.”

But after medical tests and several treatments for numerous issues, his mom said an x-ray showed fluid around Zachary’s lungs.

“We found out that Zachary ended up having cardiomyopathy and his heart was only working 19 to 20 percent.”

Zachary was transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for a heart transplant.

“One evening, it was at 3:45, he coded on us,” Fest said. “So, they had to do full CPR and they had to shock him back.”

It was a scary and emotional day for Michelle Fest who thought she was going to lose her son.

“That day when he got the ECMO, the heart transplant team got the phone call that they found a heart,” Fest said. “Within a couple of days he ended up getting his brand-new heart and we actually just got our breathing tube out yesterday.”

Though Zachary had his successful heart transplant on July 16, their journey isn’t close to over. Zachary and his family will have to stay in Middle Tennessee for several months as he recovers.

The 15-year-old wants to be fishing on his next summer trip and not in a hospital room.

Zachary Webb’s family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for medical costs and to update the people on his progress. If you would like to donate you can click here.

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