PORTLAND, Ore. -- A 4-month-old Iranian girl who arrived in Portland earlier this month for treatment for a rare heart condition is now out of surgery, according to OHSU Doernbecher Hospital officials.
Baby Fatemeh Reshad's "heart function looks beautiful," doctors said Monday afternoon during a press conference. She is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit.
The surgery had a few additional complications due to the number of holes in Fatemeh's heart and how long she had to wait for surgery, but the operation was successful.
Doctors said what made treating baby Fatemeh a bit more challenging was that normally babies with the same fatal heart condition are treated within their first month of being born. Fatemeh went into surgery at four months old. Doctors added that her delay in coming to the U.S. due to the travel ban didn't make much of a difference.
"We are really pleased at how the surgery went and we have a strong sense at this point that she will recover fully and lead a happy, healthy life," said Dr. Laurie Armsbry, the Interim Head of Pediatric Cardiology at OHSU.
Fatemeh's parents were not at the press conference but her uncle said they have been overwhelmed with support from Americans, especially Oregonians.
Doctors said Fatemeh's recovery time will be somewhere between a few weeks and a few months.
Update on Iranian baby Fatemeh Reshad's lifesaving heart surgery at OHSU. Some background on the story here: http://www.kgw.com/news/local/attorney-iranian-infant-needs-visa-waiver-for-heart-surgery/396249621Posted by Christine Pitawanich/KGW on Monday, February 27, 2017
She had been undergoing tests since Feb. 7 when she was admitted to the hospital.
Fatemeh has a rare congenital heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA) that affects two out of 10,000 newborns. If left untreated, the condition would kill Fatemeh. Doctors said children in the U.S. with her condition are typically treated within the first week of their life.
Doctors performed a cardiac catheterization on Feb. 10, a procedure in which a tube was place into a vein or artery and threaded through the blood vessels into her heart and lungs. Doctors said this was done to determine the extent of injury to her lungs.
"Fatemeh's heart defects can be repaired by closing the holes in her heart and reconnecting the transposed arteries to the proper pumping chambers of the heart,” Dr. Shen said at the time.
Fatemeh's story gained national attention after she was not allowed to travel with her family to the United States from Iran due to President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
On Feb. 3, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Fatemeh and her family had been granted a waiver by the federal government to come to the United States.
She came to Portland because her uncle and grandparents are U.S. citizens living in Oregon.
Doctors said Fatemeh's family is grateful for the support they received, particularly from lawmakers who shared her story, including Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.
Sen. Wyden tweeted his support for Fatemeh Monday afternoon.
Glad today’s @OHSUDoernbecher news about Baby Fatemeh is good & proud to have fought travel ban so this baby could get needed treatment.— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) February 27, 2017
"This was truly a team effort to beat the clock, given the medical and legal hurdles Fatemeh was facing,” said Jennifer Morrissey, an attorney representing the family.
OHSU said they will pay for the majority of Fatemeh's medical costs, none of which would be from public money.
No other services at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital were affected by the surgery. The hospital provides lifesaving care to thousands of children every year. A significant portion of that care is uncompensated. Donations from the community help to offset the cost of that uncompensated care.
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