Pediatric heart transplant patient who spent most of her life hospitalized heads home
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After spending most of her life inside of a hospital, a nearly one-year-old heart transplant patient is finally heading home.
Isla Brown turns a year old on March 1 and has spent most of that time inside Norton Children’s Hospital due to a severe heart defect.
“We’ve been here 357 days,” Christian Brown, Isla’s father, said. “We had every holiday here, she started eating baby food here, started rolling over here, gained head control. You know, everything a normal baby would do in that first year, she’s doing just in a hospital setting. With lots of fans, because it’s a hospital.”
According to the hospital, Isla’s heart defect was discovered by doctors before she was born. She suffered from hypoplastic right heart syndrome, which causes the right side of the heart to remain underdeveloped.
Doctors said Isla also had a condition known as CHARGE syndrome, a disorder that affects multiple organ systems.
“It was heartbreaking, it was scary,” Hailey Brown, Isla’s mother, said. “We didn’t really know what to expect. You know, you just kind of have to read about it and do the best you can to prepare for it.”
Hailey gave birth to Isla early at 37 weeks and noticed that Isla was not breathing on her own.
“As soon as I gave birth to her, I kind of looked at her and said, ‘Why is she not breathing?’” Hailey Brown said. “Shortly after that we found out why. It was a scary situation, she was immediately intubated when she was born and they just took her to the NICU, and I didn’t really even get to see her other than to touch her hands for two seconds.”
Norton Children’s Hospital placed Isla on the heart transplant list last August, and she received her new heart on Jan. 13.
Isla was finally sent home with her family on Thursday morning.
“It’s been a tremendous team effort to get Isla where she is right now,” Dr. Nicole Lambert with Norton Children’s Hospital said. “We have the cardiologists and the cardiac surgeons with the ICU as well. All of the providers, physical therapy, respiratory... I mean, she’s really been touched by every specialty, it feels like, in this hospital. So it’s an exciting day for everybody who’s been part of her care, not just for our transplant team.”
The family said they are super excited to be able to bring Isla home and celebrate her birthday.
“I’m really excited to get her to her forever home and see how much she flourishes there,” Christian Brown said. “I’m super excited.”
“I just hope she thrives and she lives a happy life with whatever she wants to do and be whoever she wants to be,” Hailey Brown said.
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