When Hunter was three-and-a-half months old, he caught a cold that lingered, so our pediatrician's office did an echocardiogram. Thats when we discovered that Hunter had coarctation of the aorta: his aorta was narrower than it should have been. Hunter wasn't a sickly baby, but his heart was stressed and unable to get much blood to the rest of his body.
Many of our family friends had really good things to say about Doernbecher: Within a week we were at the hospital. Everyone went out of their way to make sure we understood everything. We felt welcomed as parents and involved in Hunter's care.
Our family had no doubt in Dr. Shen and his team's abilities: The surgery to fix Hunter's aorta went so well, and he had incredible care throughout Doernbecher. He started healing so fast! We were able to leave the hospital after about 72 hours — amazing! We stayed at the Ronald McDonald house, where they took really good care of us; it was nice to not have to worry about where to stay when we were here.
Every single person we met at Doernbecher was so caring. They paid such close attention to our family. Even though they take care of so many other kids, we felt like they were there just for us. Every experience we had there was beyond what we could have hoped for.
It's been five weeks since surgery, and Hunter has already grown over two inches and gained two pounds! At five months old, he's in clothes for six-month-olds and they're probably not going to fit for much longer. He's a lot stronger, happier—and now, healthier.