An Iranian baby who was temporarily banned from coming into the United States because of President Donald Trump's immigration order will soon have her life-saving heart surgery in Portland.
The 4-month-old girl Fatemeh Reshad has had a series of diagnostic studies to prepare her for the surgery since she was admitted to the OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Fetemeh's Heart Defect May Kill Her
Fatemeh was born with a congenital heart disease. In normal and healthy hearts, the blood pumps to the body, returns to the heart, and goes into the lungs where it collects oxygen before going back to the heart again.
In Fatemeh's case, the blood flows from the body and into her heart but instead of passing by the lungs, the blood is pumped back into the body sans getting oxygen from the lungs.
Normal hearts circulate blood in a series of circulation flowing from the heart to the body and then to the heart and lungs and then back to the body but in Fatemeh's case, her heart works more like in parallel circulations with one circulating blood in the body and the other circulating blood in the lungs.
If the child's heart condition is left untreated, doctors said that it can permanently damage her lungs and may even eventually kill her.
"Four-month-old Iranian infant Fatemeh Reshad will undergo heart surgery soon to treat a life-threatening congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries with ventricle septal defects, and pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition if left untreated can cause irreversible damage to the lungs," the OHSU said in a statement released on Feb. 10.
Heart Surgery To Correct Fatemeh's Heart Condition
Laurie Armsby, of the OHSU's Division of Pediatric Cardiology, said that the procedure known as cardiac catheterization was conducted on the infant on Friday to know the extent of the injury to her lungs went well.
Armsby said that despite the excess blood that passes through the child's lungs, the results were encouraging and doctors believe they can proceed with the surgical operation needed to correct her condition as planned.
Irving Shen, of the OHSU's Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery who will perform the surgery, explained that the heart defects of the girl can be repaired by closing the holes in the heart and reconnecting the transposed arteries to the right pumping chambers of the heart.
If all goes well, the health care team expects the child to stay in the hospital for up to three weeks.
Doctors in Iran told the baby's parents that she needed surgery for her condition. Unfortunately, her family's tourist visa was abruptly canceled when Trump issued an executive order that bans the entry of people from seven countries including Iran.
A Seattle judge issued a temporary restraining order on this ban on the same day that a waiver was granted for the child. The baby's family chose to get her treated in Portland because of the OHSU's known expertise in treating heart conditions as well as because of the location's proximity to the family's relatives.