HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A Houston-area mother to three children has surprising news to share. After spending the last three years preparing for a life-changing double arm transplant, a hospital removed Katy Hayes from the transplant list. What makes it even worse, she says she is not even getting an explanation as to why.
Katy, and her husband Al, have been waiting for the day that she gets a step closer to independence. Doctors had to amputate her arms and legs to save her life from a potentially-fatal bacterial infection in 2010. While that was tough to take, they had renewed hope after Katy qualified to become a recipient of arm transplants.
"When we entered this program, we followed it word-by-word of what is expected of us!," says Katy. "We dotted every 'I' and crossed every 'T' to make sure we followed every word of this protocol, because this is so important to us."
Katy goes on to say, "Me getting arms is huge, huge! By uprooting our family and spending every last dime everyone raised for us, we went out on a limb to be insured that this would be something that would happen for us." She spent the last three years preparing for her new arms. That means all kinds of testing, procedures, mounds of paperwork, and waiting for the perfect match. She and her family even moved away from Kingwood for 2 1/2 years to live near the institute that offered them so much hope -- Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.
"We have not thought for one moment they could drop us from the program," says Katy. "We never fathomed that could be a possibility."
When another family member suffered medical problems, the Hayes' say they got permission to move back to Texas and stay on the arm transplant list in Boston.
"We were going to stay there and stick it out, but we were assured by the lead doctor on the transplant team that we would remain 100 percent priority of the hospital," says Katy's husband Al. Then, a phone call from a lawyer and doctor from Brigham and Women's Hospital.
At first, Katy thought it might be time for her transplant.
"I was like, 'OK, (smiling) let's talk to the doctor,' but they decided to cut me from the transplant list," says Katy with a frown. She also describes how devastated they are.
"They couldn't give a clear explanation which really bothered us trying to understand what happened," says Katy. "In general, I'm a happy person, but in regards to phone call, I'm angry! There was no disclosure to the process, when we reached out to them several times, and asked for an explanation. If there was a medical condition or a criteria that would make it a difficult match, that should be disclosed to us," says Al. He goes on to say that's not the case! He says Katy was deemed to be an easy match and he explains that she's considered a universal donor.
Katy was depending on transplants to help her take care of herself and her family. She recently got new prosthetics, but they're difficult to use because her amputations are above the elbows, they fit tightly and are heavy, so it can be painful for her.
"You can't do multiple joint functions at one time. You have to move the elbow, then hit a button, then move the wrist, then hit a button, and then move the hand," says Al. Plus, she obviously can't feel anything with the prosthetics. With arm transplants, she would have feeling in her fingers, hands, and arms.
Katy is doing everything imaginable to remain positive and to try to make ends meet. She is trying to make a salary through several different projects, and could really use support from the Houston-area community to help keep her going. She's teaching painting -- she offers her talents and instruction in a fun environment, where you can eat, learn painting techniques, and leave with your very own masterpiece. She also just started modeling, and is helping teach others how to have a strong self esteem, no matter what. She is also trying her hand at homemade soaps and lotions, and will be selling them at the Texas Renaissance Festival this year. She'll be there on Oct.10 and 11, set up in the very front. Katy's dream is to also go back to her days of being a massage therapist before her amputations.
The goal is to help Katy be independent when it comes to feeding, bathing, transport, and to be able to open a door for many reasons, but certainly in case of a fire. Al says he'd also like her to be able to plug in her prosthetics and put them on herself, which is very difficult.
Meanwhile, Al is busy working with his band called the Huge Heffners. You can find out where he'll be playing by viewing his schedule at https://www.facebook.com/HugeHeffners?__mref=message_bubble
To learn more about Katy's projects, visit https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/katy and http://katyhayesart.storenvy.com/.