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Michael was 6 weeks old when he was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve is stiffened and narrowed. He underwent a catheterization at another hospital. He had surgery to replace faulty valves at age 4 and again at age 14. Michael was 16 when he came to Nemours Cardiac Center shortly after an embolism led to two strokes. He also had developed a fungal infection in his heart. Michael was treated for 47 days in Nemours Cardiac Center, and sent home with a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC). The infection returned and he was back after 46 days undergoing surgery to remove the infected heart tissue shortly after his seventeenth birthday. Michael is now 21, working part-time while attending school. He is moving toward a career designing video games. “The whole Cardiac Center is awesome. They talked and joked with me, played cards and helped me with homework. It really helped,” Michael says.
“It made such a difference to be with Michael 24/7. We stayed in his room and had our own bed and shower. The nurses brought him treats sometimes, and made a cake and decorated his room for his 17th birthday. They dressed up with him for Halloween, and one night they dressed up his IV pole while he was sleeping. They made us feel so special.”
— MaryJane, Michael's mother