Hugs for the Youngest Heart Patients

20 Feb 2020 | 05:20

On Wednesday, February 19, Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital hosted its 34th annual celebration of its youngest heart patients. The party affords an opportunity for families to reunite with the hospital’s Children’s Heart Center’s multidisciplinary team of surgeons, doctors, nurses and social workers, in a celebration of heart month

“Since our first Valentine’s Day party in the 1980s, the field of pediatric cardiology has evolved and improved in significant ways, with greater success rates for pediatric heart surgeries and heart transplants, greater life expectancy, and overall quality of life for our very young patients," said Robert H. Pass, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiology and Director of Pediatric Electrophysiology at the Mount Sinai Health System.

One family in attendance was the Molieres, parents of Bailee Moliere, who was born with a hole in her heart and operated on last February when she was just three months old. “She has a great heart now. She can run and play and grow just like her peers,” said Raghav Murthy, MD, DABS, FACS, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Assistant Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplantation Program.

This was her first Valentine’s Day with a healthy heart. “Surgery was the scariest decision we ever had to make," said Bailee’s mom, Billie. "Before the surgery, Bailee was barely feeding because she was so easily winded. After the surgery, she started feeding and growing. She was like a different baby – the happiest, silliest, feistiest baby.”

Another happy participant was Gabriel Boxcell. Gabriel came to Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital when he was just two weeks old to have his first of two surgeries, both of which were performed by Mount Sinai’s world-renowned Peter Pastuszko, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Co-Director of the Children’s Heart Center at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.

Gabriel was born with a very complex congenital heart condition. After his first surgery, Gabriel was monitored at home as part of Mount Sinai’s Infant Home Monitoring Program, which allows parents to track the patients’ heart rate, oxygen level, and weight at home with close follow-up with Mount Sinai’s pediatric cardiologists, surgeons, and physician assistants to help them get to their planned second surgery. Gabriel is about to turn eight months old and is doing well. “We are so proud of him!" says his proud mom, Abigail. "He is not just our baby. He is Mount Sinai’s baby.”