Suns News

St. Josephs Barrow & Neurological Institute Patient Stories

Posted: March 6, 2010

Great patient care doesn’t happen by chance. It comes about through a commitment to research, medical education, technology, and clinical innovation. You can help fund these important activities at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s by making a gift to The Congenital Heart Foundation. There are countless ways to help—one is sure to be right for you.

Help The Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital
continue to give amazing care by making a gift today at: • 602-406-3041 or toll free 1-800-925-9514
The Congenital Heart Foundation • 350West Thomas Road / Phoenix, AZ 85013


Less than an hour after Brooklyn Renee Miller was born in April 2009, she turned blue in her mother’s arms. Brooklyn was not getting enough oxygen because of a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot, which involves four anatomical abnormalities. Correcting this defect requires several surgeries, and Brooklyn has undergone the first, a shunt implant, at St. Joseph’s and will soon have her second. Despite a tough start, Brooklyn is doing well. She is a happy baby who loves zoo animals and giving kisses.


Four months before Diego Enrique Carreras was born in May 2008, his parents learned he had a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Finding out early gave them time to research his condition, prepare for the worst, and plan for the best. Diego has had two of three necessary surgeries at St. Joseph’s and has come through both with few complications. Today he is a feisty and affectionate little boy who loves air guitar, Iron Maiden, football, and Elmo. His enthusiastic personality lights up any room.


Eddie Kennedy was born four weeks early with two rare congenital heart defects. In one—double outlet right ventricle—both great arteries connected to the right ventricle of his heart, and in the other— pulmonary atresia—the pulmonary valve was malformed. As a result, blood wasn’t going to his lungs. Eddie underwent surgery at a week old and at five months old at St. Joseph’s. He will have a final surgery soon. Looking at Eddie, you would never guess he was born with congenital heart defects. He is thriving!


If you were to look into London Ethington’s beautiful, blue eyes, you would never guess that the child has a complex congenital heart defect. Only one of the pumping chambers in London’s heart was functional when she was born. In her first year, London successfully completed two of the three planned open heart surgeries at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s. Now, she is a happy and strong little girl who amazes her family every day.


When Mark Wright was two days old, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that left half of his heart dysfunctional. He has undergone two open heart surgeries and multiple hospital stays at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s. There are more treatments ahead, but for now Mark, who is the youngest of six children, is enjoying being at home with his family. And Mark’s parents and siblings love watching the baby of the family grow and thrive.


Maxx Calapp is a very active, happy little boy who enjoys playing with his big sister and getting into lots of trouble. You’d never guess that Maxx was born with tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect involving four anatomical abnormalities. Maxx has had two surgeries to repair his heart at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s. He will need additional surgery to replace his pulmonary valve. Maxx will soon celebrate his big second birthday!


Rish Rathnam was born in October 2008, six weeks premature and weighing six pounds. He looked perfectly healthy at birth, but a few hours later, doctors told Rish’s parents that their newborn had several congenital heart defects—dextrocardia, pulmonary atresia, ventricular septal defect, and a double inlet left ventricle. Rish was airlifted from the Goodyear hospital where he was born to St. Joseph’s where he underwent two of planned surgeries. Rish is now one year old and is doing wonderfully.


Scarlett Pomaville was born with a missing heart valve and, without immediate surgical intervention, would not have survived. Fortunately, doctors learned of her heart defect through prenatal echocardiogram testing, and the team at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s were ready to treat her condition when she was born. Scarlett has had two open heart surgeries at St. Joseph’s and is now happy and thriving.


Taylor McWilliams appeared to be healthy and thriving at birth. But five months later during a routine check-up, her pediatrician detected a heart murmur. Taylor was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus, a condition where an opening in the heart that normally closes after birth remains open. When Taylor was eight months old, heart specialists at the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph’s used a closure device to correct the defect. Taylor recently turned one and is doing beautifully.


Many parents say their child is one in a million; statistically, Evelyn Blodgett really is. She has situs inversus with levocardia, a congenital defect in which the major organs are reversed. She was also born with stenosis of the pulmonary valve, a narrowing of the valve that blocks blood flow between heart chambers. Just a few days after birth, Evelyn underwent a procedure to enlarge the valve at St. Joseph’s. Now, the only way to keep her from running full tilt is to play music for her and her brother to dance to.