"Miracle Baby" Continues to Thrive One Year After Open Heart Surgery
February 2002 – Ahmad, profiled last year on our web site, has as many nicknames as he does family members. His father calls him "The Champ," his brother calls him "Superman," and his mother calls him her "Miracle Baby." On December 15th, 2001, he added "Birthday Boy" to that list.
"He's a very happy baby – a happy spirit," says Lashonda , Ahmad's mother. "I get teary-eyed just watching him laughing, talking, scooting around and trying to get into everything."
One year ago, shortly after he was born at Memorial Hospital West, Ahmad was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect and a life-threatening condition. Children born with this condition often appear blue in color as they have problems with breathing and circulation. Although some children with heart defects can wait months or years before having them fixed, Ahmad needed a life-saving operation as soon as possible.
The prospect of surgery was difficult emotionally for Ahmad's parents, who worried that their baby would not survive. Richard A. Perryman, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, performed the operation. He and his team — assembled from both Memorial Regional Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital — were able to insert new tissue into Ahmad's tiny heart and clear obstructions, enabling him to breathe on his own.
Ahmad was discharged from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital on January 15, 2001, four weeks after his surgery. Today he is a happy, healthy one-year-old. Ahmad is cherished by both his parents and his brother, David, who told his mom that he'd like four more brothers just like Ahmad.
"I certainly can't promise him that," Lashonda says with a laugh. "But I do agree with David that Ahmad is a very special boy. Words cannot express how blessed we are." Learn more about Ahmad's story of open heart surgery: Open Heart Surgery Saves Day-Old Infant.