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Woman may need heart transplant

by Christina Nelson

Karen Zaninovich, 4-year Gardnerville resident and mother of four, may need an immediate heart transplant.

She is currently in the intensive care unit at Carson-Tahoe Hospital and though her condition has been stabilized, “it does not mean she’ll be going home,” said Gerrie Gardner, one of Zaninovich’s cardiologists.

“From what I hear, if she could just get to Stanford (Heart Transplant Program) they could tell if she needs a heart transplant,” said Jody Mallory, a friend of Zaninovich who is trying to organize fund-raisers help raise the more than $150,000 to be admitted to the transplant center. “(Carson-Tahoe Hospital) can’t give her the care she needs.”

About two weeks ago, Zaninovich contracted myocarditis which inflames the heart muscles. Zaninovich’s heart muscle function is poor and she has had “lethal recurrent (heart) rhythms,” Gardner said.

The condition can be contracted by exposure to toxic chemicals or a virus. Gardner believes Zaninovich contracted the disease through a virus.

“This is a young woman with children and because she doesn’t have insurance we can’t transport her,” Gardner said.

Zaninovich, 43, doesn’t have medical insurance, and hospitals that provide transplant services won’t take patients who don’t have insurance or the money to pay for the procedure, Gardner said.

“They’ve called the state, they’ve called everybody and it’s a shame. We can’t find anybody to help her,” Mallory said.

The hospital is trying to obtain Medicaid funds for Zaninovich but so far her status is “pending,” Gardner said.

For now, everyone is trying to raise money for Zaninovich.

Gardner said Zaninovich’s ex-husband in San Jose is even trying to mortgage his house to raise the needed money.

Mallory is trying to organize some fund-raisers for Zaninovich and Carson-Tahoe Hospital has set up a bank account so people can make donations.

“This is the first time I’ve ever taken this on, so I’m just running with it,” Mallory said.

Zaninovich is a photographer and owns Room with a View in Gardnerville. Mallory has thought about auctioning off some of her art to raise the needed money.

Zaninovich’s children, ages 7, 9, 11, and 13, were home schooled by their mother. Now they have been uprooted and each is living with a different relative.

“She’s a single mom and they’re spread out all over California with relatives,” Mallory said.

Donations can be made at any Norwest Bank branch to account number 0274392554.