On Feb.18th 2000 our precious son Brett was born by C-section because of a breech presentation. Brett looked like a perfectly healthy baby with lots of beautiful dark hair. Little did we know that around 24hrs.later we would be given devastating news. Brett had just been taken to the nursery that next morning to be examined by the pediatrican. We were told we had a healthy baby, but at the time we were told this, Brett was crashing in the nursery at that very minute! Thank goodness for the watchful eye of a very special nurse named Janet, she noticed that Brett's color was turning ashen & his breathing had become labored. The doctor examined Brett again & detected a heart murmur. He was taken to the NICU to be stablized & for further examination by a cardiologist. It was then determined that Brett had
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome(HLHS),a combination of heart defects that mainly affect the left side of the heart.The main pumping chamber(left ventricle)is very small & the mitral and/or aortic valves may be narrow,blocked or not formed at all. The Aorta is small & not fully formed & there is a hole(atrial septal defect)between the two collecting chambers.We are told this affects about 2500 babies a year & is one of the most severe heart defects..
We had to return a week later to his wonderful pediatric cardiologists, Dr.Juan Villafane & Dr.Frances Vega-Arrillaga, for his check-up. His heart was working great, but in May, at his 3mos.check-up, it was discovered that Brett had scar tissue in his aorta causing some blockage. A balloon angioplasty was done by pediatric cardiologist, Dr.Recto, & at first it was successful & Brett was released the next day, but a week later they noticed that the scar tissue had come back. They did not want to operate,so they tried again a month and a half later, this time with a bigger balloon which was successful.
In October at 8mos.of age, Brett had his 2nd open-heart surgery-
Brett continues to do very well. He will have to have his 3rd surgery around the ages of 2 or 3.
We would like to thank everyone for their prayers for Brett & our family & the donations that we have received that has helped us immensely.We would also like to thank our friends & employees at my families place of business for all their hardwork on the fundraiser they had for Brett. Many thanks to Chrissy at Early Childhood Development for visiting Brett & tracking his development progress. Also the wonderful staff at Kings Daughters Medical Center where Brett was born; because of their quick response to Brett's condition, it gave him a better chance of survival! A special thanks to the wonderful staff at Brett's cardiologists, who has an extreme amount of patience during Brett's memorable visits. Also the Ronald McDonald House of Louisville,Kentucky that has provided our family a wonderful place to stay! Please support your local Ronald McDonald House-we don't know what we would have done without them. And of course, all the exceptional staff, nurses(Kelli & Barbara, who explained Brett's surgeries & kept us informed during the procedures) & doctors at Kosairs Children's Hospital in Louisville,KY.,who we can't thank enough!
We are forever greatful to our families that have given us great strength & support in this time of need. We could not have gone through this with out you all!
Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect. In the USA alone, over 40,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart defect.That translates to 1 out of every 115 to 150 births!To put these numbers in perspective,1 in every 800-1,000 babies is born with Downs Syndrome.Congenital heart defects make up 42% of all birth defects. According to the American Heart Assc.,heart defects accounted for 31.4% of all birth defect related deaths. Over the past decade the funding for heart defect research has been drastically cut! For every dollar that is provided by the national medical funding arm of the American government, the National Institute of Health(NIH), only one penny is provided for pediatric research, with only a portion of that penny going to support research on congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect! As more children with heart abnormalities are successfully treated, research is needed to meet the needs of these patients as they reach adolescence & adulthood. Please let your local & state government officals know about the need for more funding for congenital heart defect research & please sign up to be an organ & tissue donor-you never know when you or a loved one will need to benefit from a precious donor. Please join us in remembering those affected by congenital heart defects on C.H.D Awareness Day on Feb.14th. Our mayor of Ironton,Ohio has just signed a proclamation for Feb.14th as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. Thank You Bob!
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