Three-month-old Ronan came to New Day Foster Home because he had been diagnosed with a serious heart condition; he needed surgery that his orphanage was not able to provide. When he was four months old, we took him in for a checkup to arrange his heart surgery; they said that he was too young for surgery and that we should wait. After another four months, further tests showed that his pulmonary arteries were very under developed, so again the hospital refused to do heart surgery.
In April of 2016, a year after Ronan had arrived, we took him back to the hospital, and then to a different hospital; both said they were not able to operate because of the condition of his Pulmonary arteries. We were told that we should wait until he was two years old.
At this point, Karen was able to consult with a surgeon in the US, a renowned cardiologist. His advice was to do surgery now. He said that Ronan was a candidate for surgery and delaying it would cause irreparable damage to his heart. There would be no real improvement in his oxygen levels post-surgery, but doing the surgery he recommended would give Ronan the opportunity to have further successful surgery in the future.
The problem was that every hospital we checked with refused to do the surgery, they said it was too high risk. Without surgery Ronan’s chance of survival was low. He desperately needed surgery as soon as possible. We needed to find a brave, skillful and compassionate surgeon who was willing to take the risk and take on Ronan’s case.
Our medical director contacted a surgeon at Bayi Children’s Hospital, and he agreed to take on Ronan’s case. In September, Ronan was admitted to the hospital.
It was a grueling, complicated, eight-hour surgery. Afterwards, the surgeon was so exhausted that he wasn’t even able to speak to us to report back on how it had gone. His assistant told us that they had been forced to change plans half-way through the surgery. They were not optimistic about the speed of Ronan’s recovery; with a similar case the previous year, the little girl had stayed in the ICU for over a month and eventually needed a trach in order to come off of the ventilator.
After just two days, Ronan was out of the ICU. Just nine days after the surgery, he was discharged from the hospital and back at New Day. The surgeon was so surprised! He said that it was worth all the hard work in the operating room. He told us that he actually likes to take on the serious cases that no-one else was willing to accept, and thanked us for trusting him with Ronan’s heart.