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Stormtrooper doctor delivers good news for Calif. teen who waited more than two years for transplant

Posted at 7:38 AM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 09:38:01-05

When a "Stars Wars" stormtrooper walked into 13-year-old Codi Pelton's hospital room, she knew what it meant before she even saw his sign.

She had a new heart on the way.

Pelton had been on the heart transplant list for more than 2 and a half years. She was born with a heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and had been in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant for several weeks when her transplant doctor, Dr. Matthew Bock, came into her room dressed as a stormtrooper.

"Codi wanted to be told in a special way," said Lisa Pelton, her mother. "She had seen a doctor in Chicago dressed up as Chewbacca to make the announcement to her patient, so Codi asked Dr. Bock to dress as a stormtrooper."

So Bock donned the costume, created a sign that said, "You have a heart," and even played "Star Wars" music as he walked into the room.

Nurses and other hospital workers who have known Codi since she was born lined the hallway as Bock walked into the room and made the announcement.

When Codi saw them, she didn't say a thing.

"She just cried," Lisa said.

She quickly called her parents on FaceTime with the news.

"She said, 'I have a heart,'" Lisa said.

Lisa and her husband had waited so long for the news that their daughter's life was going to be saved that they immediately asked where the doctor was.

When a nurse turned the phone to show the doctor in full costume, Codi's parents knew it was time to rush to the hospital for transplant surgery.

The surgery took longer than expected, and there were complications, but four months later, Codi is back in school and her last biopsy showed zero rejection.

"When they called and said she had zero rejection, it was a huge relief," Lisa said. "I was in tears, it was awesome. Those are the best words beside hearing, "You have a heart.'"

Codi is getting ready to run the 50 meters in an upcoming track meet at her school.

"She's on cloud nine," Lisa said. "She's so excited because she gets to do P.E."