Patient of the Month: McKenna

February 2020

Imagine going through most of your pregnancy with hopes of having a surprise gender reveal at birth, just to be told your baby girl will be born with heart complications during one of your last ultrasound appointments.

“They took something that was so exciting and was supposed to be the most happiest moment of my life… and it was the most terrifying moment of my life,” said Stephanie, McKenna’s mom.

McKenna was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) which means she was born with half a heart. Minutes after giving birth in Wellington, McKenna was whisked away from her mom and transferred to the NICU at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital via LifeFlight for life-saving treatment.

“In most places of the world, these babies get put in a quiet corner of the nursery, and they let them die – they all die,” said Redmond Burke, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, “here at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, if you’re born with HLHS and you have your operation here, you have a 90% chance of making it through your first operation, a 100% chance of making it through your second operation, and a 100% chance of making it through your third operation.”

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