Young Boy Saved from Atrial Septal Defect
In spring of 2019 we had a 10 year - old male that had immigrated from Mexico come to our clinic wanting to participate in our wellness program for children with high BMIs. His aunt accompanied him and voiced concerns about him becoming overly fatigued and out of breath with attempts to exercise. She felt this was leading to his weight gain. He also shared with us that he occasionally experienced a “tight feeling” in his chest with extreme exertion.
Our nurse practitioner did his examination, which was largely benign, but she noticed that he had a very soft heart murmur that was not typical for a child his age. He was immediately referred to pediatric cardiology at UK where it was confirmed that he had a very large atrial septal defect- a congenital heart defect which is a hole between the atria in the heart. With the assistance of a social worker for cardiology, our patient was able to get emergency insurance coverage and was admitted to the pediatric ICU to have his heart repaired on bypass. The surgery was successful and thankfully he has made a full recovery with his repaired heart.
His family is well known to our clinic as we also provide care for his siblings and cousins. Our board members and staff also raised money for assistance for the family and delivered it to him after surgery to show our support for them. He continues to recover well and has been cleared for exercise to return to our wellness program. As an immigrant child from Mexico, he is part of an exceptionally vulnerable population that is often reluctant to seek health care due to lack of resources and fear. Our clinic is proud to be able to serve children such as him and many others that may otherwise have no access to healthcare.