Lebanon High teen to undergo heart procedure

Xavier Smith • Updated Dec 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

A Lebanon High School teenager will undergo open heart surgery this week after he started showing abnormal symptoms about a week before Thanksgiving.

Austin Gee, 17, will undergo the procedure Thursday or Friday morning at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Ron Lovell, Gee’s uncle, said the trouble started about a week before Thanksgiving.

“A few days before Thanksgiving he started having breathing problems and trouble sleeping,” Lovell said.

He said Gee was diagnosed with a respiratory virus before being transported to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where he was diagnosed with dialated cardiomyopathy.

Gee is currently awaiting a heart transplant due his heart not properly pumping blood to the rest of his body. Surgeons this week will implant a mechanical device into Gee’s heart to help pump the blood.

“We’re hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly and this procedure helps him feel better and be a bridge until he’s ready for that heart transplant, which will hopefully be within the next month or so,” Lovell said.

Gee is on the A-list for a heart due to his age and his uncle said he and the family would love for Gee to return to his healthy self soon.

Gee is the son of Amy and Brian Gee and ha two sisters – Lauren, 14, and Kaitlyn, 12. He is a member of Lebanon High School’s BETA club and works at Lebanon’s Chick-Fil-A. The family attends Maple Hill Church of Christ.

Although Gee is 6’1’’ and about 220 pounds, he doesn’t play organized sports, which his uncle said might have saved his life.

“This is the type of condition that causes athletes to pass out or drop dead in the middle of the court or field, so it was probably a good thing he stayed away from sports,” Lovell said.

Lovell said Gee works quite often at Chick-Fil-A to help his family and he has received tons of support from the place he loves to work since his troubles started.

A GoFundMe has also been set up for Gee and his family under #TeamAustin – Austin Gee’s Fund.


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