When Patty and Paul’s baby daughter, Katie, was born with a heart problem, her pediatrician gave them a choice of the best pediatric hospitals for cardiac care. Katie had tetrology of Fallot, a combination of four heart defects: (pulmonary stenosis; a thickened right ventricle (ventricular hypertrophy); a hole between the lower chambers (ventricular septal defect); and an aorta that can receive blood from both the left and right ventricles (instead of draining just the left).
After meeting with cardiac specialists, Patty and Paul chose Nemours Cardiac Center. Katie was 12 weeks old when she had surgery to correct the heart defects. Now age 13, she has also had three angioplasty/stent procedures.
“We felt the most comfortable with Nemours Cardiac Center in the beginning, and have been very happy with the care and follow-up ever since,” Patty says. “They are very family-friendly; we knew she would get the best care, and it would be more stress-free for everyone.”
Having a newborn with a heart defect was scary for these new parents. “We didn’t know what was normal,” Patty says. “When she cried we thought she was hungry. When we had our second child we saw that crying babies should be pink, not blue.”
Patty and Paul vowed to give their little girl as normal a life as possible. They have succeeded. Katie plays soccer and softball, cheers, dances and plays cello. She excels in gym class. One of her proudest accomplishments is achieving a junior black belt in martial arts at the age of 11.
“She had one of the toughest evaluators for the grueling three-hour black belt test,” Patty says. “At the end, he said she was the best he had ever seen. When her coach told him she had a heart condition, he was stunned.”
Patty credits Katie’s success to her fighting spirit and the care she has received at the Cardiac Center. “The medical care and attention to detail from the Cardiac Center staff has been outstanding,” Patty says. “At every point they made sure we were comfortable caring for her at home; they really care for the entire family.”