Meet Gracie.

Pulmonary Atresia with Ventricular Septal Defect

Gracie was born with very severe heart defects that over the first two years of her life prevented her lungs from growing and left them very small. She had three open heart surgeries and numerous heart catheters in her hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Still, her pulmonary arteries were not growing properly.

Gracie was sent to a hospital closer to home for heart and lung transplant evaluations. There, her family was told to take her home and love her. There was nothing anyone could do for her medically. They were told that they would keep her comfortable when she needed it. Knowing what was at stake, her parents took her to other children’s hospitals, who had the same answer.

Desperate to help their daughter, feeling helpless as she got sicker and sicker, Gracie’s parents hired a medical attorney with money raised by their community. He sent her records all over the country. Nationwide Children’s Hospital was the only hospital to respond. Our cardiac and pulmonary doctors stepped up to the plate and decided to give Gracie a shot. A shot that no one else would give.

Over a year and a half, Gracie underwent numerous cardiac catheterizations to open narrowings in her pulmonary arteries to improve the blood flow to her lungs and help them grow. The procedures worked and in October 2014, Gracie got the procedure to repair her heart. This is the surgery that many said she would never live to get. Now, Gracie plays T-ball and does gymnastics, activities no one thought possible.

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