Local man in urgent need of heart transplant

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

January 3, 2014

Hoping for a heart transplant, 18-year-old Tommy Leslie, of Pansy, is in the University of Kentucky Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit on life support.

“Tommy got a virus which attacked his heart,” said grandmother Oneda Spurlock, of Loyall. “Last year he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and over a period of time his heart became very enlarged. It caused fluid to gather and he suffered heart failure. His heart just quit. Everyone thought he was just suffering with depression because of his father’s recent death, but he was sicker than we all knew.”

Spurlock said on Monday, her grandson suffered heart failure. She said he was placed on an external bypass machine, which was connected to his heart and pumped his blood throughout his body.

On Tuesday, doctors did a second surgery placing a VAD pump into his heart. This also pumps blood for his heart into his body and is keeping him alive, she said.

“His chest is still opened up, because he almost died two or three times,” said Spurlock. “I was told the doctors plan to close his chest today (Friday). After this surgery, Tommy will be placed back on the heart transplant list.”

Spurlock said Leslie’s mother, Rhonda, has stayed at the hospital with her son continuously.

“She refuses to leave the hospital,” said Spurlock. “She has been sleeping in the waiting room. She’s having such a hard time. She has two younger children, ages 12 and 9, at home. Her car broke down in Lexington and her husband, Joey Leslie, the father of her children and my son, passed away from lung cancer at the age of 45 just this past year. She really needs help. We ask that everyone please send up prayers for our Tommy.”

A 2013 graduate of Harlan County High School, Leslie has a 1-year-old son, Leighton.

An account has been set up at the Bank of Harlan for anyone wishing to donate to help the Leslie family with their expenses. Donations may be mailed to The Bank of Harlan/Tommy Leslie Account, P.O. Box 919, Harlan, KY 40831 or stop by one of their three locations.

For more information, you may call 606-573-1202.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com