• Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size
  • PDF

Date Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Date Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2024

From London to New York: A Community Comes Together to Save a Baby

In London, a family's unborn son had been diagnosed in the womb with a rare congenital condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot with absent pulmonary valve syndrome

news item

In London, England, a family faced a heart-wrenching situation. Their unborn son had been diagnosed in the womb with a rare congenital condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot with absent pulmonary valve syndrome. This threatened the proper development of both his heart and his lungs, putting his life at risk.

"This is a rare and complex condition," explained Michael Gewitz, MD, WMCHealth Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations and Physician-in-Chief of WMCHealth’s Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. "It affects a key valve in the heart that regulates blood flow to the lungs. Without a functioning valve, the blood vessels coursing through the lungs can become enlarged, squeezing the airways and making it harder for the baby to breathe and for their lungs to develop normally in addition to causing the heart itself to improperly develop and function." 

Grappling with a dire prognosis, which would likely involve prolonged and, perhaps, lifelong respiratory support, the parents refused to give up hope. However, doctors did not offer an option for care because, in their view, regardless of the surgical result, the child would face ongoing complex problems.

After their son's birth, they were determined to find a hospital willing to give their baby a fighting chance at life, no matter the odds.

Dr. Said with Adam
Dr. Said with Adam

"We were contacted by Refuah Helpline, a referral service that, among other things, connects families with children facing major medical problems to advanced care centers," recalled Dr. Gewitz. "They recognized our hospital's experience with partnering with families and healthcare providers from around the world to ensure every child receives the best possible treatment."

The dedicated doctors, surgeons and nurses at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital readily accepted the case.

The boy, Adam, and his family flew across the Atlantic Ocean to Westchester County, New York, where he underwent successful heart surgery at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. The procedure was performed by Sameh Said, MD, Chief of the Section of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Surgery, who specializes in repairing congenital heart defects in children, including the most complex abnormalities. With the help of the children’s cardiovascular team, Dr. Said successfully completed the surgery and improved the boy’s heart function, offering hope for a brighter future.

The hope is that with the heart defect corrected, his lungs will gradually improve, reducing his reliance on respiratory support which has been followed by the specialized pediatric pulmonary disorders team at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

"Dr. Said and the rest of our team, with additional support from Refuah Helpline and members of the community, not only saved this child's life but also provided invaluable assistance to his family during an incredibly difficult time," remarked Dr. Gewitz. “When they had nowhere else to turn, we were there for them, and we’re thrilled by the successful outcome.”

While the boy’s journey is ongoing, his story highlights the impact of community support and the unwavering dedication of medical professionals at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Dr. Said, along with the physicians and nurses in the operating rooms and pediatric intensive care unit, persistently tackle even the most challenging cases.

A trusted, renowned team of experts offering revolutionary life-saving cardiac surgical techniques make Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, the Hudson Valley’s choice for pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. For appointments or referrals, please call 914.493.8793. For more information, including information on a safe and effective alternative to traditional heart surgery, please visit MariaFareriChildrens.org/Pediatric-Cardiothoracic-Surgery.