While on a father-son fishing trip in the Florida Keys, Chad, 3, was playing and swinging from the rope of a nautical wood pole when the 200-pound object came crashing down onto his chest, sending him into a state of cardiac arrest.
In shock and with little time to react, his father, Richard, administered CPR and resuscitated Chad. When the Nicklaus Children’s LifeFlight crew arrived, they immediately flew Chad to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) where doctors stabilized his condition.
Chad had ruptured one of the muscles that kept his mitral valve from leaking, Anthony Rossi, MD, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine with The Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, said. Rupturing that muscle, Dr. Rossi said, was similar to having a heart attack of the muscle.
Chad’s parents researched several children’s hospitals and knew that the best place for their young son was right in their backyard at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, under the care of Dr. Rossi and Redmond Burke, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery.
Chad underwent surgery and a few years later, his valve needed to be replaced in a second operation. Since that second procedure, Chad has grown into a healthy, strong 17-year-old who loves fishing and wakeboarding and is a varsity baseball player.
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